Easter is serious

 

If we kill the truth-tellers

their truth will be resurrected ten-fold

in the  generations to come. 

Long live the Truth, long live.

 

Friends,

“Easter is serious. Easter is a demand as well as
a promise. Easter demands not sympathy for the crucified Lord but loyalty to the risen one; it
demands an end to all our complicity in crucifixion.”

– William Sloane Coffin

 

Easter is serious because to trust in its truth is to affirm that the way of Jesus really is the way of Life. It is to affirm Jesus’ teaching and lived example which pretty much goes against almost all the accepted wisdom of the world.

Like:
Welcome-in strangers. Hang-out with outcasts. Tell the truth regardless. Better to help someone lying in a ditch on a dangerous road than make it in time for church. Don’t hit back. You don’t own what you have. Give and give again without counting the cost. Worry not about tomorrow—not even today. Pray all night. Fall in love with the people who hate you. Fear no-one. Forgive people who are wrong—even if they are really, really wrong. Forgive again. Serve all people—especially the “least”. Make friends with the poor.

This is serious stuff. Easter is serious stuff.

Joyfully disturbed by resurrection,
Alan

On this day of Resurrection I invite you to slowly wander through this poem by the Brazilian liberation theologian, Rubem Alves.

What is hope?
It is a presentiment that imagination is more real
and reality less real
than it looks.

It is a hunch that the overwhelming brutality of facts
that oppress and repress
is not the last word.

It is a suspicion that reality is more complex
than realism wants us to believe
and that the frontiers of the possible are not determined

by the limits of the actual
and that in a miraculous and unexpected way
life is preparing the creative events
which will open the way to freedom and resurrection . . .

The two, suffering and hope, live from each other.
Suffering without hope produces resentment and despair,
hope without suffering creates illusions, naiveté,
and drunkenness . . .

Let us plant dates
even though those who plant them will never eat them.

We must live by the love of what we will never see.
This is the secret discipline.

It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved
in immediate sense experience
and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren.

Such disciplined love is what has given
prophets, revolutionaries and saints
the courage to die for the future they envisaged.

They make their own bodies the seed of their
highest hope.

– Rubem Alves, Brazil

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Crucifying Friday


Friends,

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.

Distraught,
        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

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Statement: State Capture Crucifies

PRESS STATEMENT                                                                                                    14-04-2022

State Capture Crucifies

On Good Friday the Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town will raise this Yellow Banner on its steeple.

It reads:

We raise this banner on Good Friday to highlight the crucifying consequences of State capture. The people involved in State capture not only have dirty hands. They have blood on their hands. They are guilty of theft and the deaths that ensue from their theft. State capture makes a handful of people obscenely rich at the cost of making millions of people excruciatingly poorer. Among these are the vulnerable poor who die from all manner of lack. There are many ways to kill someone. Stealing money that was intended to provide life-giving services is one way. It is often a tortuously ‘slow’ death and those responsible are seldom caught, let alone convicted, for it is difficult to find their fingerprints at the scene, but we want them to know that like Pilate of old, no amount of hand washing will remove the blood stains from their hands. As the prophet Jeremiah says: “The acted shamefully, yet were not ashamed, they did not know how to blush…Therefore they shall fall.” [Jeremiah 6:15].

We say blessed are the whistle-blowers who risk their lives to tell the truth. These whistle-blowers are the real freedom fighters of our day. We grieve for the whistle-blowers who have been killed while knowing that a bullet cannot kill the truth they have spoken.

A WARNING from history to those who continue to live in shameless denial of their State capture crimes: the truth has a strange and powerful way of resurrecting.

Contact person: Alan Storey

The Yellow Banner will be raised at 11:30 on Friday 15th April.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Palm Sunday Performance Protest

Pussy Riot perform “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

February 2012

 

Friends,

Palm Sunday was an act of political performance art. The purpose of political performance art is to expose the powers. Exposing the powers to protest the powers. To hold up a mirror to them. To take the micky out of them. It is basically to declare: “The emperor has no clothes”.

Political performance art is all about symbolism and timing and place. Jesus was a whizz at this stuff. He knew how to put his finger on the political nerve of the Roman regime as we will find out again this Palm Sunday. The palm waving parade, complete with a Zechariah inspired donkey ride was political theatre at its best. This was immediately followed by Jesus’ dramatic performance shakedown of the religious powers in showing how to deep clean a state-captured-temple.

Jesus’ performance art would secure his execution for sure. Having peeved off both political and religious big wigs – it was a no brainer that they would come together to vote in favour of his killing. The state would supply the wood and nails and the religious establishment would guarantee divine approval.

It is a dangerous thing to dig up and expose the powerlines of any oppressive regime. Here are a few more recent examples of political performance art. Some explicit. Some more subtle. Some planned long in advance. Some spontaneous. 

 

See Pussy Riot perform “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012. For an explanation of the lyrics, see this article.

 

See the beginnings of the #RhodesMustFall student movement,
with Chumani Maxwele who threw poo on the UCT Rhodes Statue.
He describes in detail all the symbolism that informed the
performance protest.

 

 

 

See Pope Francis spontaneously stop and pray at the Apartheid-Israel wall soon after

 

 

 

praying at the Jerusalem’s Western wall.

 

 

 

 

And then finally some protest theatre against State Capture way back on 12 May 2013 wonderfully coinciding with Ascension Day. I officiated at a wedding. The couple have been in love for a long time and finally decided to come out in the open and get married. 

See 2013 State Capture performance protest from civil society organisations in the city of Cape Town.

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email