Yesterday I watched a chick flick with Lollie – The
proposal
.  As far as chick flicks
go this one was not that bad.  I
experienced some emotional moments. 
There was a part of the film that really got me thinking and it is
about traditions.

During a certain scene a bride-to-be is offered a necklace
and told that ‘it has been a family tradition to pass this on to new brides for
150 years’.  The bride-to-be is in
a quandary – she doesn’t really want to be married and it feels to her a
sacrilege to accept the necklace with its amazing history.

This scene got me thinking about two aspects of life.  Firstly how a lot of people are so
anti-tradition that we drift through life rootless.  Yet I think we live in a postmodern world where people like
me desperately crave for traditions that link us to history. 

Ouma Last week I discovered my uncle’s blog – and while I was
supposed to work got distracted by reading some of his archived blogs.  It was wonderful.  Part of why it was, was the fact that I
got to see some tradition.  My
grandmother on my father’s side passed away when he was a young boy.  The memories/traditions linked to her
have not really been passed on to me. 
Then I discovered this entry by my uncle … and for some reason it welled
up a wave of emotions. I believe we need traditions.  We need to discover them, and create them.

Secondly I fear, that for those of us who follow Jesus, that
we are in danger of committing sacrilege with some of the traditions Jesus
passed on to us. Three of those traditions (and I think there are many more)
are the Lord’s supper, baptism and the Lord’s Prayer.  These traditions/memories have become commercialized to such
an extent [in my tradition] that it has lost most of its flavor and
color.  For Jesus’ sake – just
think how we’ve turned the Lord’s supper into plastic little cups with
Liquifruit and a piece of waver that is three degrees from being plastic.  We have so much opportunities to
re-imagine and rediscover …

Today is Rolihlala Mandela’s 91st birthday.  In the famous Rivonia trial he noted
that,

In my youth in the Transkei I listened to the elders of my tribe telling
stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of
wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland. The names of Dingane
and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and
Sekhukhuni, were praised as the glory of the entire African nation. I hoped
then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my
own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated
me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this
case
.

In the Apartheid Museum there is a quote where Mandela reflects on the
agenda of the oppressors.  He notes
that,

At the heart of every oppressive tool developed by the Apartheid regime
was a determination to control, distort, weaken even erase people’s memories.

And then Madiba says that,

“It was in our determination to remember our ancestors, our stories, our
values and our dreams that we found comradeship.”

Just think how many times we are invited to REMEMBER in the Judeo/Christian tradition …

To end this post and reflection that have taken a long walk in different
directions, let me conclude with words that got me crying.  It is Mandela’s last few sentences
during the
Rivonia trial.  He
stated that,

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the
African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought
against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free
society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal
opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if
needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Happy birthday Madiba!