“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” ~ Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006)
Who knew we could find living faith among the dead? You might as well have told me to go to a church filled with zombies.
When I became born again in 1970, at the age of 14, It never occurred to me I was born into a family nearly two thousand years old. I figured it started with me. I was soon introduced to the works of C.S. Lewis--a dead guy! Lewis died in 1963, so at least we were briefly alive at the same time. This made him acceptably “modern.” Years later I discovered Lewis took most of his ideas from St. Augustine--who was even more dead.
I suspect many followers of Jesus, if they read at all, limit their exposure to names like Max Lucado, Francis Chan, or Beth Moore. Christian publishers understand that “new” sells, while “old” is simply, well, old.
I sing in praise of our grandparents. They have left us a legacy that rests among the weeds, awaiting rediscovery. They are not worthy because they are old, they are worthy because their instruction and encouragement is timeless. Nor were they born as saints: Augustine was a young man consumed with pride and lust; Assisi was a hipster in his day, in danger of wasting his life on passing fancies. They, and a cloud of witnesses more, have so much to say to us. Try the sampler platter:
"Educated Christians like myself expect God's grace to prefer people of greater natural ability, higher standards of behaviour, and superior education in the liberal arts. In fact God mocks my expectations." ~ Augustine of Hippo, born 354.
“A beautiful woman looking at her image in the mirror may very well believe the image is herself. An ugly woman knows it is not.” ~ Simone Weil, Born 1909
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ~ C.S. Lewis, born 1898
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming ourselves.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi, born 1182.
In my opinion, Students of Jesus should join in worship along with the glorious dead.