Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Xochitl Alvizo has written a great post, “The Hunger Games, Holy Week, and Re-Imagining Ritual,” which takes its cue from Danielle Tumminio’s CNN article, ”Hunger Games asks us not to watch.”
What would Good Friday be like if once, just once, Christians stopped their church services in protest or stopped a re-enactment of Jesus’ death and took him down from the cross just in time?
Christians don’t do that, of course, because they are remembering an event whose course cannot be altered: Jesus suffered. Jesus died. The only thing that can be done is for Christians to voluntarily bear witness to that reality and to be disgusted by it, so that its carnage motivates them to protest violence.
In that way, watching for Christians on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday serves a purpose: It empowers them to take on Jesus’ ministry as a servant, to become people who protest against injustices in the hopes of transforming them.
But then Alvizo wonders,
What difference does it effectively make to have the yearly ritual be one in which Christians were interrupting the violence instead of simply remembering it and watching it all over again? What if Christian communities refuse to participate in remembering the event as it occurred and instead practice a ritual that actually acknowledges and physically moves them toward the potential of new life – of a new divine way of life? The ritual re-imagined, a ritual in which Christians stopped their church services in protest and took [Jesus] down from the cross just in time may more accurately reflect and enact the call to end this kind of violence, injustice, and torture and not allow it to happen to anyone else again. The ritual re-imagined, instead of being the practice of passively watching endless circles of death, can be the catalyst that empowers and shapes us into people who protest injustice, interrupt violence, and actively participate in life – our own and one another’s.
She concludes that,
All our actions, but especially repeated ones, can either shape us toward life or toward death (or survival too actually). My wish for us all is that we may always and in every moment choose that which may bring forth life, especially on our holy days – which really is every day.
Great stuff, especially since I’m thinking about ideas for resources to use in “Forsaken by God” services for Good Friday and Holy Saturday.