Years ago Harry Emerson Fosdick told about a church in Denmark where the worshipers bowed regularly before a certain spot on the wall. They had been doing that for three centuries–bowing at that one spot in the sanctuary. Nobody could remember why.

One day in renovating the church, they removed some of the whitewash on the walls. At the exact spot where the people bowed they found the image of the Madonna under the whitewash. People had become so accustomed to bowing before that image that even after it was covered up for three centuries, people still bowed.

 

Tradition is a powerful thing. The Pharisees had learned to substitute tradition, custom, habit for the presence of the living God. Traditionalism rears its head in many ways, in many times and in many places.

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