Lose your faith this Holy Week


Benjamin Myers posts a challenging sermon by Kim Fabricius inviting us to use Holy Week to lose our faith. For example, our faith in some of the standard beliefs about the death of Christ. For example, the belief:

…that our redemption was achieved by Jesus dying at the hands of evil men, particularly “the Jews”. What self-serving propaganda! And what a perverse fillip to the church’s long and shameful history of anti-semitism. No, it was not the bestial but the best that killed Jesus. The state in all its glory and religion at its most awesome killed Jesus: not the mob but the upholders of public order, not the wicked but the standard-bearers of morality.

Fabricius invites us to meditate on Hans Holbein’s painting, The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb (which illustrates this post – click on the image for a full-size version), as a reminder that it is not the suffering or courage of Jesus or the wickedness of those who killed him which should occupy our thoughts this week:

Forget even about the dying of Jesus: it is not to the crucifix, or even to the deposition, that I would direct you – no! Rather look at the man – dead – gaze upon the corpse of Christ, fix your eyes on his cold and rigid body, laid out on a slab, already showing signs of decomposition.

This painting reminds us that Jesus really died; he underwent a true death in all its horror. And this in turn should strip us of some our assumptions about God, who we can easily see as the antithesis of weakness, suffering and death. Hence Fabricius calls on his listeners to “lose your faith”:

Lose your faith in the god that the cross exposes as a no-god, a sham god. Lose your faith in the god who is but the product of your projections, fantasies, wishes, and needs, a security blanket or good-luck charm god. Lose your faith in the god who is there to hold your hand, solve your problems, rescue you from your trials and tribulations.

As Fabricius continues (the quotation is from Bonhoeffer):

“He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us.” God a Super-Power? That god is a demon, the Devil. If that god is your Lord, this week is a call for “regime change” (Walter Brueggemann).

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