The Archbishop of Dublin did a biblical exposition for the assembled Anglican bishops in Oxford this morning. His name is Michael Jackson and it is too easy to make lame jokes about his sermon being a thriller.

He was excellent. But, the line that sticks – and I haven't got time to give the gist of the entire text – was this one:

Tradition is the church interpreting, not the church reminiscing.

Although pertinent to and directed at the church, this notion has much wider application. It is easy to live now as if the present reality is permanent – or to bemoan the loss of old structures instead of finding creative ways to give birth to new ways of being… and interpreting these possibilities to those who mourn the loss.

Reminiscence should never be the cause of sentimentalism. Tradition should fire our commitment to the future.

Now I've got to beat it to the session on 'safeguarding'. (See what I did there?)