“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings” John 8:31 NLT
When I was a child my family regularly went to local football matches. I learnt a lot about the game, the players and even the other teams. As the years passed, I lost interest but then I had children. I found my boys were becoming interested in football so I started taking more notice. However, during the years when I wasn’t paying attention, there were some major changes to the game. It had become a national competition and new interstate teams were now playing. I felt annoyed - why did they have to change?
Why did it bother me? I no longer went to the football, I barely took any notice, so why should I care if it changed?
During those early years of watching football, I gained a lot of knowledge about the game and as long as the game didn't change, I could still use that knowledge without putting in any time or effort. I could stay on the peripheral and yet know what was going on. But when the game changed, the knowledge I had was useless.
Often in churches, we find a similar thing happening. People on the peripheral get annoyed because the church has changed. Perhaps they went to church as children and learnt the traditions but now they don't attend regularly. The knowledge they had is no longer relevant. Often, they leave church altogether rather than making the effort to reconnect.
While outward forms of worship change God remains constant. We are truly his disciples if we remain faithful, not to our traditions, but to Jesus’ teaching.