Original Research

Liturgical guidelines for congregations to have a voice in the serious problem of economical inequality in South Africa

Barend J. de Klerk
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a683 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.683 | © 2013 Barend J. de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 January 2013 | Published: 16 September 2013

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Barend J. de Klerk, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa

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It is part of the calling of the church to address issues of justice and peace, and to care for the poor and the marginalised in society, because the church is the body of Christ and therefore the heart and hands of Christ in this world. In this article, the problem statement is: ‘How can liturgical guidelines help churches to become involved in the economic inequality and the consequent poverty in our society?’ Richard Osmer articulates a practical theological method that is largely employed in this research. South Africa is the world’s most unequal nation. The South African economy grew steadily from 1992 to 2008, but the benefits were distributed unequally, such that income inequality actually worsened. It is necessary to get a truthful starting point for the church to address this need − and the best way will be to discover the identity of the church. The church’s identity is described in the liturgical sense in three phases of involvement in society, namely (1) the gathering and sending of the local congregation; (2) the liturgical responsibility with the ecumenical church; and (3) the possible cooperation with those who do not share the Christian faith.

Deel van die kerk se roeping is om aangeleenthede soos geregtigheid en vrede aan te spreek, asook om vir armes en gemarginaliseerdes in die samelewing te sorg. Die kerk is immers die liggaam van Christus en daarom die hart en hande van Christus in die wêreld. Die probleemstelling van hierdie artikel is: ‘Hoe kan liturgiese riglyne kerke help om betrokke te raak by die ekonomiese ongelykhede en gevolglike armoede in die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing?’ Richard Osmer bied ’n prakties-teologiese metode wat met vrug gebruik is in hierdie navorsing. Suid-Afrika is die wêreld se mees ekonomies-ongelyke nasie. Die Suid-Afrikaanse ekonomie het van 1992 tot 2008 stelselmatig gegroei, maar die voordele daarvan is sodanig versprei dat die ongelykheid in inkomste toegeneem het. Dit is nodig om ’n betroubare vertrekpunt vir die kerk te vind om hierdie probleem te hanteer – en die beste wyse is om by die identiteit van die kerk aansluiting te vind. Die identiteit van die kerk in die liturgiese sin word in drie fases van betrokkenheid in die samelewing beskryf: (1) die vergadering en uitstuur van die plaaslike gemeente; (2) die liturgiese verantwoordelikheid tesame met die ekumeniese kerk; en (3) die moontlike samewerking met hulle wat nie in die Christelike geloof deel nie.


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