I am a creature of habit. I like doing things the way I have always done them in the past. I love traditions and often become nostalgic of the past. I seek to put some degree of stability and predictability in my life through the practices and traditions I keep. Our family is rich in these practices and traditions: weekly movie dates, letters at milestone moments in our lives, flowers on significant occasions, special visits to family and friends. Over time, the reason for these traditions may dim or even be forgotten but the practices remain.

Life, however, is meant to be lived forward. New situations need new ways of doing things. New relationships require new practices. Traditions have to be set aside sometimes. Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” There is a dynamic tension between what has been and what will be that need to be addressed and resolved in the present.

The past offers me lessons, memories, and understanding. The future hold out to me hope, fresh starts, possibilities. These come together in the significance of the present, which is a gift I receive one day at a time.

O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
~ Psalm 8
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
Mark 7:1-13
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