A beautiful letter came from a grandchild recently. It was a rainy afternoon. She was looking at the lake, and remembering what the place she was in meant to her. Not just the pine walls and beams, she noted, but the games played at that lake, and conversations held by the fireplace – the whole summer world of long talks, of life decisions made, of issues wrestled through. But perhaps more, those who peopled that shore – the chair where her great-grandfather sat to write his sermons, the long looks toward lake and hills that meant much to all, especially her.
There was a quieting down of life that made long thoughts possible and invited deep conversations to happen.
It was a lot about the place, and what the place encouraged, and what a calling loon on river’s mouth meant. And the impact of family and neighbors had been, and how one’s point of view about many things was influenced by this place of remembrance where, just then, she sat.
It’s made me think about what we leave in life, and so much of it is TRADITION. Who people were, and the way they thought, and what they did, that made those who came after, and watched, and heard, and remember still, learned from what they saw.
Great scenes touch our hearts and make us think, as do great ideas, and dreams dreamed and visions seen. They touch us, and then they live within us. They receive. They stir up other thoughts. They make us lively, amid communication.
Families, so often, are fashioned by tradition, by memories, by truths that become a legacy to generations following. Of where we stand and what we cared about, and talked about. And decisions were made about things that were important to us. Careers chosen. Even books written and issues dealt with “TRADITION.”
Maybe our children catch the drift and say that’s what they want to be about, too. To be the same kinds of people. To care about the same realities. To do similar work. TO LIVE OUT THE SAME LEGACY WE LEFT BEHIND.
To not live life exactly the same way, but with the same heart, the same deep concern.
While sitting down to write this, the phone rang. My dear friend Bill, and his wife. But, also, via a conference call on the road, longtime mutual and deep friend, an Ojibwe pastor. Our friend of many years, with whom we have a long “Tradition” of home and church visits. Because God, long since, has made us brothers and dear friends. George and his Ojibwe singers have come down from the North Country to sing at celebratory seasons in my life. A birthday. An anniversary.
And George invited me to come north and preach at his wife’s funeral. What an honor! Tradition. A relationship of brotherhood in Christ, fast and true.
Tradition is not empty. It is deep, and bespeaks a relationship. A brotherhood. A “tie that binds.” A tie especially deep because it is born of faith, and love. Because we are friends in Christ.
It is because we care about each other through the years. It is a sacred heritage. A passing on of shared concerns. Because of love. Worth preserving. Precious. Enduring through the years.
Have you good traditions in your life? Cling to them. Live by them. Hold them dear. Be true to them. Faithful and true.
from your brother,
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES