Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
The church isn’t known for its innovation. We have a reputation for something closer to the opposite of that. For many, the church, and its focus on tradition, are often seen as an obstacle to innovation.
And yet, much of our history was built on deliberately innovative solutions, integrations, adaptations, and evolutions.
It may seem incredible to consider it now, but Martin Luther wrote lyrics to drinking songs, not only to appeal to the people in pubs, but to help people to sing using tunes they already knew. Of course, there were just as many then who rejected this premise as carousing with the wrong sort as would say the same today.
I bring up innovation because we often think of it as being clever, revolutionary, or simply a willingness to change. And then we say, “but, of course, we don’t do that.” But it is actually par for the course. It is what Christians have done since the time of the apostles and it is part of who we are.
The Anglican tradition was founded on innovation. Henry created a state church, Cranmer wrote a common book for common prayer, and Americans founded an Anglican Church that wasn’t a state church, but was no less part of an Anglican Communion.
We are often more traditional than most but we have as much innovation in our character as any. Which means we don’t just know what we’re supposed to do according to tradition. We tie tradition to our present in ways that respect both.