~ PASS IT ON— Part of pastoring is mentoring: handing on and lifting up others in faith, skills, abilities, understanding & knowledge, and confidence. I’ve mentored lots of folks, and been honoured with their trust and watching them grow in lots of ways, often zooming past my little store of ideas or skills before long, since a true teacher’s role is to make themselves superfluous, having handed on good and true things to others. A one-man band may be impressive, but an orchestra built up and guided and taught by one person so that each knows their role, and could also lead the others– much more lasting and powerful.
The scary word ‘tradition’ properly means just that: ‘traditio‘ or hand on to others. It’s not yours to keep: the riches of past struggles, questions, puzzles, essential questions is the distilled and purified gold of past generations of human toil and wisdom. It is a par of adolescence to put all that up to question– it is a sign of maturity to take on what is handed on, and find the good and the gold in it, and to pass it on to future people. In the Church, tradition is further understood to be the Holy Spirit alive in the debates and outworking of the church in time, warning against error, pitfalls, dead ends, and human sin and stupidity.