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Pastors Message for March

 

Losing sight of the real message

We live in a world and society in which there are enormous pressures for syncretism. So, what is syncretism? It is the bringing together, merging or combining of different (sometimes even contradictory) beliefs, ideas and cultural practices in an attempt to create a sense of unity, inclusiveness and oneness. While this may sound good, from a purely philosophical or utopian ideal, does it ever really work in practice? No! What usually happens is that one group, or idea, in the new syncretised culture, takes over and dominates the new thought, practice or identity. It’s a little like what happens when you combine a variety of brightly coloured paints. You always end up with a horrible dull brown.

Take for example our Christian celebration of Passion Week, where we remember the events of the final week of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ culminating in His arrest, His illegal and unjust trials, His brutalisation at the hands of the authorities of the day, His execution by crucifixion, His burial in a secured tomb, and His resurrection. The New Testament gospels give us some very interesting information and clear insights.

How do we celebrate these events today in the life of the church? We call the celebration ‘Easter’, a word taken from paganism. We give hot cross buns and chocolate eggs to our family and friends, which, of themselves, are not Christian symbols, but borrowed from pagan and ancient cultic traditions. Even the meaning and message of Passion Week has been lost to us. The idea of Divine salvation and forgiveness, because of OUR sin (Self Indulgent Nature) and shame, is hardly heard as the reason for the Lord’s sacrifice. It would seem that the real message for our celebration of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has been almost totally lost to us, because of the problem of syncretism. Today, it would seem that Easter is merely a holiday for more self-indulgence.

What other areas of our life and culture are slowly being eroded and taken over in the quest for syncretism and inclusiveness? It is important that we not lose sight of the real messages and meanings that define our lives and inform us of our sense of identity before God. For those who put their faith in God, there is a recognition that He is both the creator and sustainer of life, and that He seeks a personal, vital and dynamic relationship with us. This is the heart of the events and message of Passion Week. May we get back to the real message and put aside the syncretism.

Pastor Bruce Roberts

 

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