Reflection for January 2016 on the theme Be Courageous

March reflection – Heritage and Tradition

Priscilla Penny

By Priscilla Penny

Elected at the International Conference in Zambia 2018, to be GB’s International President (2018 – 22). Priscilla was previously IVP for Africa for eight years and brings a wealth of experience to her role in Girls’ Brigade.

Priscilla lives in Harare, Zimbabwe with husband Claudio. As well as all that she does for GB, Priscilla and Claudio also have a busy family life, keeping abreast of all that’s happening in the lives of their four children and five grandchildren!

What is our Heritage? Something that comes to us by reason of birth. We can inherit land or a portion of the land. Our Heritage is the environment into which we are born and raised. We might think that because we are redeemed in Christ, our heritage shouldn’t matter. We might reason that if we are mature in Christ, our heritage should affect our identity very little. However, our Heritage influences the way we live. There are bondages in our lives that are a result of our Heritage.

We have been made heirs of the Kingdom, through Christ. Although we are citizens of a heavenly culture that has its own heavenly identity, we are still living as citizens of this earth. Missiology scholar David Hesselgrave writes, “Though Christianity is super cultural in its origin and truth, it is cultural in its application.” We apply Christianity in the midst of identities that have been greatly shaped by our heritage.

This affects our ability to communicate the Christian message from one culture to another. When sharing the gospel cross-culturally, we try to make the message clear and accurate in that particular cultural setting. The same principle applies when we try to live out our faith. Our unique heritage affects the way we try to live out our identity in Christ within our communities.

So what is Tradition? Tradition is a long-established ritual, custom, or belief that is passed down from one generation to the next. Traditions can be a healthy and positive way to maintain family cohesiveness and can help create a sense of belonging within a community. But when we look at our Mission as GB, what are our traditions that have been passed down since 1893? This is God’s Mission and are we sure that our ‘GB Traditions’, “We always do things this way”, are not blurring the line between God’s Truth and our own inventions?

Mark 7:13 warns us not to ignore God’s traditions in favour of our own.

We have been around for 127 years this year, so we must be doing something right! Not all of our heritage and traditions are ungodly, so it is time to take an inventory of our traditions and align ourselves with God’s Mission in this generation.

As we continue to be Fruitful and Overflowing, it calls for us to have eyes that see beyond ourselves. Let’s look around us and make the world a better place in the community that we live in. #ShowKindness

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