Holy Week, Belgium, and the empty church


Holy Week Reflection on Matthew 21:28-32

This morning we wake up to yet another attack. Belgium has apparently being the victim of a terrorist action. We are witnesses to more violence and more death. It is a painful reminder that we live in precarious times. It is a sobering morning indeed.

Today also is Tuesday in Holy Week. This is the day Jesus spent in the temple talking to the religious leaders and answering questions among other things. He stood in the temple and was questioned about his authority to do the things he was doing. After all the religious leaders had been trained and it was their job to do some of these things.

Jesus then tells a parable of two sons. The father asks both boys to go do some work. The first son says “no” but then changes his mind and does it. The other says “yes” but changes his mind and does no work. So which one matters the words or the action?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many empty churches? I don’t mean on Sundays, I mean just overall. Abandoned churches, churches converted to homes or other types of businesses. Here in our country there are many and throughout the world it is the same. In certain places there are big vast beautiful structures that sit dormant.

As Brussels evaluates its wounds and begins the healing process perhaps it is time for us to evaluate our wounds as well. The church not only has wounds but has inflicted wounds as well. We have been silent for too long when people are being mistreated. We have been silent for too long as people are being sold, tortured, and killed. We often value country over God.

These buildings are often empty because for two long we have said one thing and done another. We have called ourselves Christians and acted like anything but. It is time to change that. It is way past time to change that.

Holy Week is the perfect time to change that. This is the week of death over life. Jesus defeated death and death no longer has the last word. The empty churches no longer have to be the final word either. Through the grace of God, we can change this. Forever.


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