We’re drawing to the end of our Faith in Turbulent Times. This week we explore the most recently adopted creed in our Book of Confessions. The Confession of Belhar is a South African creed, written by the Dutch Reform Church as it came to terms with the part it was playing in apartheid, in 1980. It mirrors the “we believe . . . therefore we reject” format of The Declaration of Barmen (which you may remember was written by pastors and theologians rejecting Nazi rule, in the 1940s). The PCUSA adopted this creed for our Book of Confessions in 2016.
Alongside The Confession of Belhar, we have a dark and indicting word from the prophet Amos. He’s a sheep and fig farmer called up to preach to the prosperous Northern Kingdom of Israel in the mid seventh century BCE. It’s a seemingly super time — a law and order king, lots of people in worship, the rich getting richer, but God puts a prophecy in Amos’ mouth that says at its core, “Twisting the word to your own benefit is sin.” During this time when so much seems to be at stake, Amos’ words and The Confession of Belhar call us to take a serious look at ourselves and our use of scripture to justify our ways of being in the world. It’s a hard word but a necessary word.
Scripture: Amos 5:6-15
Reflection: “Beaten Over the Head with the Bible”
Confession of the Week: The Confession of Belhar
I continue to be grateful for this journey through the confessions, which reminds us that Christ’s Church has faced hard times before, and it refined them/us. And I continue to be grateful to be on this wild ride with all of you.
Peace be with you in the trials and messiness of life,