The reflection below was written by my friend and fellow YDS-mate Rev. John Helmiere, who after graduation planted a church in the Seattle area. His reflection comes from the Beatitude Society’s Echoes from the Edge series. Though we’ve entered the season of Easter, I still believe that John’s view of Holy Table-Turning Monday should be embodied every monday and perhaps every day–the ongoing commitment to holy disruptions with sacred sass.
From the Beatitude Society’s Echoes from the Edge
By John Helmiere, 2012-13 Beatitudes Fellow – April 1st, 2013
Holy Table Turning Monday
In 2011, during our first year of existence, Valley & Mountain Fellowship made up a new Holy Week holiday: Holy Table Turning Monday.
Holy Table-Turning Monday commemorates the day when Jesus turned over the tables of the money-changers in the Jerusalem Temple, disrupting business as usual in this nexus of economic, religious, and political power. According to Mark, the Temple action occurred the day after Palm Sunday– the Monday of Holy Week. This symbolic act shed light on the oppression of the common people by the large institutions of the elite. The powerful were slowly taking over the land of the peasant farmers through extracting taxes and turning the indebted small landholders into serfs and slaves. The debt records were kept in the Temple.
For the past three years now, my church has celebrated Holy Table Turning Monday by going as a group into local branches of major banks (Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase so far) to close our accounts and tell the management our reasons for doing so, before opening accounts at local credit unions and neighborhood banks. We’ve then flyered outside the banks to let people know about the abuses perpetrated by the “too-big-to-fail” banks and about alternatives who were more accountable to our communities and at least not “too-big-to-care.”
Other Christian communities have started to hear about it, contacted us to ask how they could get involved, and a few have done actions of their own, so we made a web resource: http://www.tableturning.org. We’ve started wondering if this holiday could catch on– a day when churches around the world join in social justice actions (it boggles the soul to ask why there isn’t such a day in existence already).
Holy Week Should Be a Disruptive Week
Port workers and organizers have come to several V&M Celebrations over the past year and shared about their struggle for good jobs, respect, safety, and fair pay. Tuesday they delivered notice to their bosses that they’d formed a union. Some bosses literally locked the doors and put down the shades while others came out and at least engaged in dialogue. V&M was there in support. Holy Week should be a Disruptive Week.