By Jeff Kimes - Executive Pastor
Last month when I was in Israel, I visited The Church of the Sepulchre. This is the church that was built on what is thought to be the site of Jesus’ death and burial. You would imagine this being a quiet solemn place, but that is not the case. When you enter, you encounter a line of people eager to touch, kiss, bow in front of and cry on a slab of stone. Church tradition says this slab of rock is where Joseph of Arimathea laid Jesus’ body before he took him to the tomb.
Standing there watching all that was going on lead me to asked the question, "Have these people replaced worship of our Lord with their emotional connection with a traditional place? "
We all have family traditions and we even have some church traditions. But we must be careful when our church traditions become more important than the Gospel. Tradition can be so engrained that one may claim it to be scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. A great example of this is most nativity sets around Christmas. Most sets have the wise men kneeling at the manger presenting their gifts to the baby Jesus. Scripture is very clear that the wise men arrived sometime about 2 years after Jesus was born. Does that mean I am a heretic for having wise men present in my nativity set? Of course not, but I need to know what scripture says and teach only what scripture states.
I have to ask myself at times, "Am I doing this out of tradition or out of worship?" If the answer is, “Well we have always done it this way”, then I may need to look and make sure I have not removed the worship aspect from the action.