Family Traditions (Cornerstone)
Sep 6, 2015 - Rev Paul Rasmussen
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Did this sermon cause you to re-evaluate any attitudes or beliefs that you have about your role in your family?
Have you ever acted like the rules didn't apply to you? What example do you think that set for the people around you? How do you think someone could have been unintentionally harmed by your attitude?
How have you seen concealing a mistake at all costs lead to a bigger problem in your life or in an organization?
Have you ever used money or gifts to ignore the deeper needs of those around you?
How would doing any of the three things Paul outlined as "detrimental traditions" make it harder to pass the faith down to the next generation?
Have you ever had an epiphany? You know—a time when all of the sudden a lightbulb turned on, and you learned something new? Had an eye-opening realization?
Well, it’s officially after Labor Day. You’d better not be wearing white.
Sound familiar? On Sunday Rev. Paul Rasmussen told us about his Labor Days growing up. Every year—without fail—his mother would sit him down and say, “Now son, you can no longer wear white pants.”
It was a tradition. Every year. White after Labor Day? Not OK.
Traditions. We all have them. We all do things year after year just because we’ve always done them. Carve the turkey. Decorate the Christmas tree. Sing Auld Lang Syne, whatever that song says or means. We often inherit traditions for good reasons, but what about those traditions that need to go? What about those things we do out of habit, which actually harm the people we love most in the world? Maybe we should take a look at some of these traditions, evaluate, and let them go.
This weekend Paul challenged us to look at some of the traditions we have in our families that might keep us from passing our faith on to the next generation. Specifically he addressed a few ways men in particular struggle—family traditions that need to go. Our Scripture for the weekend was 2 Samuel 11 where we see David committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband killed because of three inherited traditions.
“If I’m in authority, the rules don’t apply to me.” David was supposed to be in battle when he saw Bathsheba bathing. Because he was king, though, David side-stepped the rules and stayed in. And he knew adultery was wrong, but somehow kingship excused that too. Who lost? David’s family and Bathsheba’s husband. When we mistakenly assume the rules don’t apply to us just because we’re in authority, everyone around us suffers. Are your spouse, your children, or other loved ones in your family hurting because you’ve taken advantage of your authority?
“In my family, we conceal our mistakes at all costs.” Once David realized the mistake he’d made, he didn’t run to his wife and apologize or ask Uriah the Hittite for forgiveness. Because he’d gotten Bathsheba pregnant David tried first to send Uriah to her so that David wouldn’t have to take the blame. When that didn’t work, though, he arranged to have Uriah killed in battle. In this case David traded the intimacy of being known in his marriage—mistakes and all—for status, secrets, and a reputation. When we today fail to confess and learn from our mistakes, we miss out on deeper relationships with our loved ones as well as a chance to learn, grow, and be better leaders in our families.
“As long as I support my family financially, I don’t need to be present emotionally.” David wrongly assumed that being king was enough. As long as I provide for my family, he reasoned, I don’t have to show up for the happy and hard times of the life we have together. Paul told stories this weekend about the countless husbands and wives he’s seen over the years who grieve their difficult marriages. Though the husband provides everything their family could possibly need financially, he’s nowhere to be found emotionally. He also told us about many children he knows who wish they knew their father rather than just had him pay for their education, hobbies, or family vacations. Paul challenged men to step up and be emotionally present in the lives of their families so nobody misses out.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived, died, and rose again so that our slates could be wiped clean. This weekend we celebrated Holy Communion and brought to the table all the ways we’ve failed our families by living out flawed inherited traditions. Where we have broken the rules, abused our authority, concealed our mistakes, and/or been emotionally absent, Christ has been faithful and forgiving. He gives new life, regeneration, and the opportunity to start fresh. All of us are invited to put our past behind us and embrace the life God calls us to in our families.
Director of Adult Ministries