The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.
Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Text from the Belhar Confession:
God, in a world of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged.
NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.