The democracy of the dead
G.K. Chesterton writes in Orthodoxy
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man's opinion even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man's opinion, even if he is our father.All of which is to say to me that there is a collective wisdom in traditions and while we would not want to blindly follow tradition just because "we always did it this way" neither should we blindly throw out the ways of the past. I find one of the great attractors to me in the Episcopal Church is to be nurtured by prayers that have nurtured Christians for centuries. As with other liturgical churches, the roots of the words and actions of our worship services go back to the early days of Christianity and deeper still into Jewish tradition in some cases. So while for some see the word "tradition" as standing for something of the past, or even something dead, done without a memory of why. I feel that tradition is a living thing which carries its own memories with it even as new memories are added. As the 184th annual meeting has its main business session today, we'll add to the memories of this diocese while keeping in mind the decisions of those who have gone before us.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor King of Peace Episcopal Church