Today I begin teaching again after the ten-day-break between semesters. I am always excited to start a new semester, but this semester I am teaching the Four Gospels of the New Testament and that adds to the excitement. The Four Gospels are the life of Jesus Christ and to study, review, ponder, and discuss the life of Christ for the next seven weeks is not only a privilege but an absolute delight.
Because it will be on my mind, I’ll probably be recording many New Testament thoughts on Good News! beginning today! But that’s appropriate since the Greek word gospel means good news.
Whenever I introduce the Four Gospels to students I am struck by the power of traditions over the people. We are so blessed to have the Spirit to guide us, but following the Spirit takes work and constant effort and requires us to be obedient and repentant. Traditions, on the other hand, are like the tracks of a train. Once you are on them they carry you without any thought on your part. Thus the ancient Jews took the easy route and became caught up in tradition instead of following the Spirit and after a few years the traditions were all that mattered to them.
There are many things in our lives that we need to evaluate. Are we doing those things because it is habit or because we are being directed to do them? Are we walking through the rituals because they are tradition or are we really thinking and pondering and renewing ourselves through the rituals?
It is easy to slip into the realm of tradition. But it only takes a little thought and effort to bring ourselves back to a state of awareness and alertness—a state that will feed our souls and keep us in tune with the Spirit.