Holy Week And Transformation
As a child growing up in the midst of apartheid South Africa, I heard my elders say many times that politics do not belong in the church. Reflecting back on those years, you might agree with me, that this fallacy was ironic as the Dutch Reformed Church was instrumental in the formulation, promotion, and implementation of the apartheid system with its dehumanization of a people based on ethnicity.
The underlying theology in this thinking was that "Jesus died for my sins so that I can be forgiven and go to heaven." This individualistic spirituality with its emphasis on the afterlife led, to a great extent, to the neglect of the church's prophetic voice and its role in the transformation of the world to bring about the kin-dom of God on earth.
It seems to me that the same individualistic and privatized faith is also prevalent here in the United States. No surprise then that I hear the refrain just as often that politics do not belong in the church.
This coming Sunday we will address this fallacy, as Jesus’ message has huge implications for our public life, as we will see from the scripture of the day, Mark 11:1-11. This reading about Jesus' final entry into Jerusalem reveals how confused the crowd was about Jesus' identity, as he enters Jerusalem in the midst of great political tension between an oppressed people and a religious establishment in cahoots with the empire.
The question then before us as we enter Holy Week this Sunday and continue to meditate on the theme "I Am Human. Created in the Image of God" is this: Are Holy Week and Easter only for personal transformation and a promise of heaven after death, or do they have relevance and implication for the church’s role in the transformation of this life and world in bringing about the kin-dom of God? I would love to hear your opinion!
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