The Rev. Megan Dembi
St. Thomas, Morgantown
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!
I think one of the ways that we can view this pilgrimage process is as repairing our current foundation rather than building a new one. Because we are not starting from scratch, nor would we want to start from scratch. We may sometimes be tempted to think that newer is always better, but that is simply not the case. We must retain those values and traditions that continue to be meaningful for us in order to maintain our identity. On the other hand, just because something is old doesn’t mean that it is of value. I think there is a difference between something that is old and something that is traditional. And I think the difference is that a tradition continues to have value to us. We don’t just keep doing it because it is what we’ve always done, but because its meaning transcends whatever point we may be at in our lives together. And it can be a struggle to identify what is outdated verses what is traditional, but that is exactly what we need to do. So let us work to identify the faults in our foundation, but let us not become so carried away that we think it better to completely destroy the old and replace it with the new. But let us also view the old with an open mind, careful to distinguish between that which is simply old and what are truly our traditions.