Paper & Pencil: Letting Go of Tradition and Embracing a New Life

I had a small problem when the time came for me to write this blog post: the computer wasn’t available.

My wife needed it for her job, which left me with a dilemma: Do I wait until she’s done or begin writing with a pencil and paper?

Pencil and paper?!

I patiently waited until she was done. Typing this entry is much quicker, not to mention easier to edit, than writing it out by hand.

I mean no disrespect to the old medium. It served me well through school, and I still like to take notes by hand. Blogging, however, requires a faster process.

Pencil and paper (or a form of them, anyway) were the way to go for centuries; but in the last 30 years, technology has changed dramatically. In my college days, I would handwrite assignments, then walk to the computer lab to type them up. (Do colleges even have computer labs anymore?) By the early 2000s, personal computers and Personal Digital Assistants (good old PDAs!) were beginning to replace them as the standard ways to record thoughts and information. Then came Blackberrys and smartphones. Writing digitally has increased exponentially, and now cursive writing is not even taught in most schools.

What if I had been asked to give up handwriting back in 2000? What if someone had asked me to switch completely to a somewhat unfamiliar medium for the rest of my life? I would’ve felt shock, excitement, and more than a little hesitation.

My mixed feelings, though, would pale in comparison to the complete shift the disciples made when they were celebrating the Last Supper, the final “divinely-authorized Passover feast,” as Pastor Armstrong called it. An ancient tradition that gave way to a new one: the first communion.

They were taking a tradition sewn into their Jewish culture, and leaving it behind for a new ritual and way of life.  For the rest of their lives, they would be aware of the Passover celebrations around them. Their minds likely turned to friends and family still celebrating the old feasts and looking for the Messiah who had already come—friends and family who may well have turned their back on the Jesus followers. 

As computers became more common, most of us made a gradual transition and had help along the way. The disciples, though, had a steep learning curve to a new way of life—and one with much stiffer consequences, too!

The Passover celebrates the rescue of Israel from Egypt, but still looks forward to the Messiah and the hope for atonement. Communion is also a remembrance, but it reminds us that Jesus Christ has dealt with our sin problem and rescued us.

As you read this today on your screen of choice, take a moment to think of the history that brought us here. Then think of the men and women who bravely stepped away from their culture and traditions to embrace this new way of life they received from the Messiah on the night of the Last Supper.