Monday, 17 October 2011

Forward and reverse

I've just got back from a bit of a walk/think/pray time round the site.

Many of the buildings I regularly walk past are closed and locked, but there's one I frequently see that bears the sign 20 CES Conference room. It's more or less a wooden shack with a couple of doors on the side, now rather falling apart. Some buildings like that are literally falling to bits, but this one seems more or less OK, and looking through the windows, there are no damp marks or sagging ceilings. There was also something odd in one of the rooms: Green & Red lights marked "Forward" and "Reverse".


It took a moment to twig: the lights were in the projection room, and would have been used to indicate to the technician working a slide projector which way to move the presentation.

It made me wonder, in the greater scheme of things, if that's how we so often do church. We've kept the red & green lights, but few people really know what they're for any more. They have a symbolic value, and if people were to make a presentation from that room again then they would definitely need to go forward or backward as required, but things have moved on, and we do the same things in different ways. The lights were right then, but aren't any more. Of course, some people would remember how much better the lights were with their stately glow compared to a cheap plastic infra-red transmitter.... And no 'tradition' is immune: I do wonder if, in 25 years, the songs we sang that were fresh on the wave of what the Spirit was doing will sound as terrible in the ears of our grandchildren as Ira Sankey's songs did in ours.

You can see where this is going.

I've been considering some of the comments about my earlier post" - actually considering them quite a bit, particularly about passing on a form. It brings to mind when Paul & Barnabas went back to Jerusalem (Acts 15) over the very issue of passing on tradition. The Jewish believers had so many traditions and saw so much of their faith & expectation fulfilled in Jesus, one might expect that they would want to see the same pattern of rite and practice established everywhere now it had a meaning that could be universally applied.

What did they say? Basically: don't be troubled by what the guys demanding you follow our traditions said, and keep yourselves pure instead.

I don't want to go back to Egypt, but I'm not sure I want to go back to (the historic) Jerusalem either, particularly as it got razed just a few years later.

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