I know that there has long been a tension between traditionalists and non-traditionalists, between those who welcome change and those who cling to how things have “always been done.” I see it in churches and schools, in families and city councils, and in most every election. We see it played out in the streets of the Middle East and in the small town cafes of the Midwest.
It is not always an easy thing for one group to perceive the potential good of some projected idea, or for the other group to understand how the first group could fail to see the benefit. Not even the Son of God was able to persuade his opponents to see the Light.
It is an easy thing to believe that those who fail to receive gladly the benefit of our wisdom are simply too stubborn or too stupid to agree with us. An easy thing to believe that were they reasonable and open-minded, there would be no argument between us. In fact, it is so easy that they often have remarkably similar thoughts about us!
Even when granting that humans often share the trait of being resistant to notions that did not hatch in their own minds, we ought to be careful, nonetheless. We ought to be open to the possibility that is fear or pride rather than wisdom that is guiding us, whether we are proposing change or fighting against it. God’s own people have often resisted the leading of his Spirit and that has always been to their detriment.
Sometimes, they have resisted by turning away from the traditions that derived squarely from his commandments. Sometimes, they have resisted by their devotion to traditions that are entirely of the making of humans. When we are most dangerous, it seems, is when we believe the latter to be the former. Indeed, it was that rather particularly which led to the execution of the Christ.
It is the following of the Spirit that is key to our vitality, whether departing from one thing or returning to another.