Maintaining the Traditions

“You are the Pastor of a good church. A sincere church. One that knows what she believes, and one that stands up for it!”

I was making shut-in visits in the middle of December. Between visits I was thinking about what my Newsletter article should be for January. A shut-in gave me a fitting topic when he proudly spoke about his beloved Church, Zion. His words sunk in. Wow. Yes, I am the Pastor of a good church. What a blessing that is! No, she is not perfect. Yes, she has things upon which she can always improve. But, what a blessing it is for a young Pastor like myself to have the honor to serve a “good, sincere church.”

The work of the Church is never finished. We should never relax or ease up from “teaching all nations” as Jesus exhorted His disciples in Matthew 28:19. As we enter the New Year, it is my prayer and hope that we can maintain the reputation of being a church that “knows what she believes” and just as importantly, “stands up for it!”

There are two Bible verses which reflect what our faithful shut-in said. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thess. 2:15, “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” The word tradition, properly understood in its Biblical sense, is that which is handed down by teacher to student, from one generation to the next. The word tradition, in fact, etymologically is derived from two words meaning “given away”. A faithful teacher of Christ “gives away”, as it were, to the student of Jesus the knowledge he has attained, just as a faithful father teaches his son or daughter by “giving away” what he knows. A tradition in the God-pleasing sense is not simply “what the Church has always done”, but instead reflects both the teaching of the Bible and the practices which support the Christian faith.

The Bible distinguishes between human tradition and Biblical tradition. Paul writes in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” We read in this verse that a human tradition, therefore, is derived from human reason. Jesus reprimands the Pharisees in Matthew 15:9 when He says, “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” A Biblical tradition, however, is always according to Christ, which includes both what He did during His earthly ministry as well as what He taught.

As we enter this New Year and every year until Christ comes again, may we all be encouraged to “maintain the traditions” (1 Cor. 11:2) that have been faithfully handed down for almost one hundred forty years here at Zion, rightly understanding that “traditions” here refers to believing sound Biblical doctrine AND confessing it in our practice, which includes standing up for it!

At the end of the conversation with that shut-in on that December morning, I said to him, “With God’s help I will do my best to make sure Zion stays that way.” He got choked up, and with words evading him simply gave me a “thumbs up”. I pray that when the youngest generation in our congregation becomes the oldest, they will have the same passion and concern for their beloved Church as that shut-in. And I also pray that the Pastor then can joyfully say with thanksgiving, as I am blessed to say today: “I am the Pastor of a good church. A sincere church. One that knows what she believes, and one that stands up for it!”

Your Servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Sunday Worship Services - 8:00 A.M. and 10:30 A.M.
Compline Services, Wednesday - 7:00 P.M.

 

COMMUNION SCHEDULE
 

8:00 A.M. First and Third Sundays

10:30 A.M. Second and Fourth Sundays

Fifth Sunday, Both Services

COMMUNION STATEMENT
Special note to our visitors and guests: Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, are kindly asked to refrain from partaking of the Sacrament until first speaking with our Pastor.

Next to Easter, the oldest season in the Church Year is Epiphany. It has been observed since the second century, falling on January 6th.

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WEDNESDAY NIGHT SERVICE/BIBLE STUDY

The Wednesday Services in January (January 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st) will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Compline, in the Family Room. Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office.