Justice crucified


Our reflections throughout Holy Week have been premised on the belief that if Jesus were the preacher this week, he would not focus on what happened to him 2000 years ago. Rather, Jesus would focus on how he continues to be crucified today in the bodies of those who he names as his incarnation, “the least of these”. The bodies of the vulnerable poor. Therefore, our focus throughout the week was on the systems of religion, economics and politics that continue to collude in ways that exclude and exploit. Ways that blame the victims of society’s injustice for society’s problems which ultimately scapegoats and crucifies.

Jesus doesn’t call us to be his historians. He calls us to be his disciples. Discipleship happens in the now. History is important in how it can help us to see and understand the present, but it comes with the temptation to live in the past which means that we could end up worshipping yesterday’s Messiah and this can blind us from seeing that we are crucifying today’s Messiah. Together with this is the temptation to believe that just because we know the story of old means that we now know better. But as we have seen this week in our reflections, we do not know better now. The exact same abuses of religious, economic and political power exist today as they did 2000 years ago. Justice continues to be betrayed and the results are as deadly.

The other premise for our reflections this past week was that Jesus was crucified by “1000 cuts”. Each cut a tiny compromise of the truth, neither deadly nor very noticeable in themselves but cumulatively they constructed a cross. The cross was made from a million splinters of self-interest legally laminated together by fear, greed and prejudice. As it was then, so it is today. Yes, the cross was legal, of this the State’s lawyers were sure. We should know better than most that legal does not mean just.

William Sloane Coffin once said: “On Good Friday we crucified Jesus, the best among us, because we had crucified the best within us, and did not want to be reminded of it…”

Now there were many reasons why Jesus was crucified – not least because he threatened the status quo of the Empire elites, but I invite us to reflect on this insight from Sloane Coffin today.

Isn’t it true that when we are reminded of something within us that we have ourselves forsaken or betrayed, we are prone to respond with defensive denial and sometimes even vicious anger? When we betray something we hold dear within us there is a strong temptation to begin to see the world, others and ourselves in a way that justifies our self-betrayal as it becomes too painful for us to face and acknowledge. One way to stop the pain is to get rid of that which is reminding us of our self-betrayal. To shatter the mirror that reflects the reminder.

Jesus reminded the religious class what true religion is meant to be about – justice rather than ritual, and mercy rather than sacrifice – loving God by loving our neighbour. This way had long been forsaken, but not quite forgotten – so to eradicate evidence of their self-betrayal they called for his blood. Likewise, Jesus reminded those in power that they were to use their power to pastor the nation with care. The leaders had not forgotten they were called to be shepherds, but they had long since given up caring for anyone other than themselves. They took offense at Jesus and seized the opportunity to have Jesus permanently removed. Jesus reminded the ordinary people that they were born free and equal to all and therefore to pick up their mats and emancipate themselves from internalised slavery. The people wanted him to do to their enemies as their enemies had done to them. When Jesus refused, they cried “crucify” and voted for Barabbas instead.

May we see and acknowledge what we have betrayed in ourselves. And may we behold our self-betrayal with compassion rather than condemnation, with the hope that when it is revealed to us by others, we will not call for their condemnation. Perhaps this may avert another crucifixion.

With grace,


Crucifying Friday


On this Crucifying Friday we gather to remember Jesus’ Crucifixion that took place long ago and as we do, we gather to name and engage the crucifixions of our time. Christ is crucified again and again … and again! Remember when the Spirit of Jesus confronted the persecuting Saul on that Damascus road? Jesus did not say, “Why are you persecuting them?” He said, “Why are you persecuting me?” In other words Jesus takes what we do to each other personally. This is especially true when the most vulnerable are the victims. As Jesus said, “What you do to the least of these you do to me.”

Therefore Jesus’ Crucifixion 2 000 years ago is more than a historical event. It is an archetypal lens. It is the Crucifixion archetype that is true the world over. According to the Crucifixion archetype whenever expedient politicians (backed by an unquestioning military), oligarch influencers and a self-serving religious establishment get together, society is soon to be littered with crucifixions of the poor and vulnerable who are scapegoated for the sins of this unholy trinity.

The Crucifixion archetype further reveals that people (especially religious people) have a tendency to crucify today’s messiahs while worshipping the messiahs of yesteryear. It is a perverse form of salvation (liberation) nostalgia that is a stumbling block to salvation (liberation) in the present. In other words we act like Herod today while praising Jesus of long ago. We act like Pharaoh today while praising Moses of even longer ago. We act like the KKK today while praising MLK jr. We act like the Apartheid regime today while we sing praises about the liberation struggle. We steal from the pensions of the poor while we call for radical economic transformation. Beneath the rhetoric of our worship we hide our acts of betrayal. And even this can be hidden from ourselves, such are the depths of our self-deception.

If Jesus’ Crucifixion recorded in the gospels does not illuminate the crucifixions recorded in today’s newspapers then we are denying the Crucifixion of old by the way we remember it.

This is true all over the world. This year we think especially of the civilian executions and bombed out communities of Ukraine. We think too of the economic war against the unemployed poor of our own land (See Sunday post from two weeks ago).

Today we gather beneath the wondrous Cross of the wounded one…

I invite you to carve out time today to name and hold vigil with the wounded of the world. Those who literally carry the sins (deathly actions) of the world in their living…

With grace, Alan

The Last Shall Be First

Along the way the pilgrims heard
        that a group of people
had set out for Jerusalem
        without a map.
Since each of us owned
        our own map
and read it daily
        and even then
had difficulty knowing
        which way to turn,
we were amazed
that they would set out
        on their own …
amazed and alarmed.

Many a day we had
        prayed and consulted
over choices
        in the road.
This news presented
        a greater dilemma:
Which of us would go
        in the rescue party?
Whoever went would
        most certainly
not get to Jerusalem
        on time.

        we prayed.
Then it was we realised
        that the ones who went
in search of the lost
        would be the first
to arrive in Jerusalem.

Certain in-charge church people
        expound upon the finer points of doctrine
while the disenfranchised await the verdict.

Meanwhile the holy fools rush in
       and touch the outcasts,
creating Good News once again.

Certain in-charge church people
       expound upon the finer points of doctrine
while the disenfranchised await the verdict.

Meanwhile the holy fools rush in
      and touch the outcasts,
creating Good News once again.

Ann Weems


The Execution of Jesus

Good Friday Sermon
2021 04 02 Alan Storey

The Execution of Jesus

[Hebrews 10:16-24; Mark 12:1-12; Mark 15:6-15]

Prayer: Can we wait and watch with Jesus?


Easter: Good Friday Reflection

The Little Calvary: Praying on a Covid-19 Good Friday

A reflection on prayer by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.


Good Friday Meditation

You are invited to spend some time on Good Friday
with this meditation by Joan Proudfoot.


Service & Sermon Resources

Sermons by Rev. Roger Scholtz of Kloof Methodist Church can be downloaded from Kloof Methodist Church Sermondrop and can also be found on i-Tunes.

Rev. Roger Scholtz: A Calvary Called Covid-19. [John 19:16-30]

A service by Presiding Bishop Purity Malinga & General Secretary, Rev. Michel Hansrod will be broadcasted on DSTV Channel 344 on Good Friday at 12:30.



The Cross of Christ

Grace to you

Today we survey the Cross of Christ. To survey its wonder, as the hymn writer implores, we must first survey its terror. Yes, before the Cross is wondrous it is torturous and to deny the terror is to dilute the wonder.

The cross was more than a Roman tool of torture. It was a sign of intimidation – put up for all to see as a reminder to all who dared to think of rebelling against the authority of Rome, to think again.

Rome – like almost every oppressive nation – thought that they were the very incarnation of God on earth – and treated any threat to their power as not only treason but an affront to the Divine or at least what they believed to be “their God-given right”. Throughout the ages oppressive regimes have used religion to endorse their oppression while convincing their followers that evil is holiness and holiness is evil. We’ve seen this in our past where those in power convinced their followers that racism was a virtue and not a sin. When good and evil are literally swopped around terror-ble things are done by people who believe they are not only doing good but that they are actually pleasing God.

As T.S. Eliot reminds us: “Most of the evil in the world is done by people with good intensions.” This is certainly what the Calvary Cross exposes, for it was religious people who called for Jesus’ crucifixion. Ironically religious people turned out to be the greatest threat to Jesus. They believed nailing Jesus was holy and pleasing to God. In “defending” God they were in fact denying God. The Calvary Cross teaches us that throughout history the so-called “defenders” of God almost always do so by destroying human beings.

One would hope that the followers of Jesus would never do this, but alas history is littered with examples to the contrary. The reason one would expect Jesus-followers not to fall for this is, because at the heart of Christ-like faith, is the belief that God has taken on human form – flesh of our flesh – and therefore to diminish or destroy human life is at one and the same time diminishing and denying God. As the author to Colossians writes: “Christ is all and in all.” [Colossians 3:11]. Or remember the heavenly words of question to Saul on the road to Damascus: “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” See, God takes human persecution personally!

In short – the torturous Cross of Calvary teaches us that when we kill human beings we kill God. This begs our wonder…


The crucifixions of our time

Christ is crucified again and again … and again

On this Crucifying Friday we gather to remember Jesus’ Crucifixion that took place long ago … and as we do we gather to name and engage the crucifixions of our time. Christ is crucified again and again … and again! We know this because Jesus himself said: “What you do to the least of these you do to me.”

Jesus’ Crucifixion 2000 years ago is to be for us a lens that enables us to see clearly how crucifixion today. This is true all over the world: from the gassed children and bombed out buildings of Syria; to the fleeing families of Sudan; to the seedless farmers of India; to the grieving Coptics of Egypt; to the walled-in Palestinians of Gaza and to the humanity denying inequality of our own land.

If Jesus’ Crucifixion recorded in the gospels does not illuminate the crucifixions recorded in our newspapers each and every day then we are denying the Crucifixion of old by the way we remember it.

In this crucifying light of Christ, please read the crucifying story of Nathaniel ‘Tenni’ Davids who died at 2:40pm on 24th March … another crucifying Friday.

Grace, Alan

Hanging boy was murdered, says Mom

Crime & Courts | 27 March 2017 | Genevieve Serra | Daily Voice

Cape Town — The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was found hanging from a fence at a Cape Flats train station believes he was brutally beaten and then murdered. Police who discovered the body of little Nathaniel “Tenni’” Davids said he had committed suicide. But his family says the child’s “hands and feet were tied up”, and he had a noose tied around his neck.

He was found dangling from a vibracete fence near Netreg Station on Friday just after 2:40pm by police who were on patrol. Cops have since opened an inquest docket into his death. But some Bonteheuwel residents believe the death may be gang-related. Ward councillor Angus McKenzie says messages circulating on the social chat group Outoilet, which claim Nathaniel had been murdered, have been handed over to the police. “It is all speculation at this stage that there is gang involvement, it is all based on messages which were received from residents,” he adds.

Nathaniel, who was in Grade 5 at Bramble Way Primary School in Bonteheuwel, was last seen on his way to a nearby shop to buy biscuits. His distraught mother, Louise Davids, 43, and aunt Diana Davids, 47, say the little boy did not attend school on Friday. “He was playing with his ball and his dog, Tessa, in the street the whole morning,” says Louise. “It was just before 2pm when I sent him to buy wafers.” “A man who had come from work stopped at our home and asked us what Nathaniel had been wearing.” “We said he had on a green sweater, Nike takkies and a tracksuit pants.” “He said a boy who was hanging at the station wore that kind of clothing.” The women rushed to the scene, but were not allowed to view the boy’s body, which police had covered with a white sheet.

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirms an inquest docket has been opened for investigation and that a post-mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death. While police don’t suspect foul play, Louise believes her son had been murdered. “I don’t care what the people are saying on the outside. I believe this is murder and God doesn’t sleep,” the heartbroken mother of four says. “My child’s hands and feet were tied with the string you find on a keyring (lanyard), and that was also around his neck. “You tell me how is it possible that he could hang himself when there was nothing underneath his feet and how could he do it if his feet and hands were tied?”

Diana admits Nathaniel was no angel, but says he was not a gangster: “No child in this house belongs to a gang, (but) he was stout (naughty), yes.”

To kill or be killed?

When most people say they are willing to die for this or that, they really mean that they are willing to kill for it.

But when Jesus said it, he meant it.

Faced with the choice to kill or be killed – Jesus chose to be killed. That is not to say that he wanted to die or that he needed to die for any Divine plan to be fulfilled. No. Jesus being killed was the consequence of Jesus choosing not to kill. Jesus chose not to kill because he had already chosen to love. To love without limit. Jesus chose to love without limit because he came to represent God in the world – and that is who God is – love without limit.

According to Jesus, the only way to live life in full abundance is to live life lovingly. To love is to live. To refuse to love (or to kill) is to die. Jesus taught that we couldn’t live lovingly and kill (contrary to what so many in Jesus’ name have taught through the ages). But it is one or the other. There is life and death before us and we cannot choose both! For Jesus to kill was for him to die. This is the topsy-turvy stuff of the Gospel. Call it crazy stuff if we like, but we shouldn’t be surprised because the prophets of old reminded us that, “My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord.

In the world in which we live it is going to take some crazy stuff to save us because the logic of our age and ages past that force can carve out a peaceful future is just causing the rivers of blood to run deeper. Violence (be it international conflict or within our own families) promises what it never ever delivers yet we keep giving it another chance to try. Our addiction to violence is killing us all.

Jesus’ way of unlimited love – the way of the Cross – invites us to live life in a way that brings life … even though it may demand the giving of our life. It is this mystery that the Cross calls us to explore and ultimately give ourselves to. Of course there are huge parts of us that recoil in terror at the thought of this … but if we are still and attentive we may also hear a still small but strong voice whisper to us: “For this you were made. Do not be afraid. Love again. Love some more and more. Give yourself away and you will find yourself. Die and you will live. Trust …

Love some more, Alan