Shortly after Pastor Sean came on staff at PLC about ten years ago, some of us read the book Aqua Church by Leonard Sweet as a staff exercise. It was easy to see then that Pastor Sean already had the leadership gifts we are experiencing from him today, you know? But it turns out that it was Pastor Greg who reminded him about the practice of using the anchor to pull a ship forward, a method called kedging.
I have a good memory, too – but it’s short! So I dug out the book and took a quick look at the chapter called “Casting the Anchor: Tradition.” It turns out that one of the other reasons to cast an anchor forward, according to Sweet’s research, is “to establish a pivot point from which to cast off, set sail, and stay untangled from other boats, booms, docks, rocks, and other hazards.” That certainly describes what the Apostles’ Creed does for us, doesn’t it?
But Sweet’s words also reminded me of Jeremiah 6:16. It’s a verse that has been floating in my mind since I returned from a retreat at Mission San Luis Rey last week. The verse says, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” I have found that the Lord is always leading us in fresh, new ways, but they never usurp the ancient paths. They never stray from the truth (scripture) because Jesus is the Truth. And they never tangle us up in other boats, booms, docks or rocks!
Traditions are good; they can be comforting. For me, though, it’s when the traditions center my thoughts on Christ and encourage me to grow in my relationship with him that they are the most powerful. “One must trust the tradition,” Sweet exhorts, “and trust it enough to carry it into an uncertain future…The AncientFuture Christian lives out of the past, not in it.” That’s where I want to be found. How about you?