It’s Serious Business

Repent, and believe the Good News

Mark 1:15
Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15

Sermon Week/Year

First Sunday of Lent, B

Several years ago in a TV documentary on Apartheid, a very interesting custom of the Babemba tribe in South Africa was featured. Within that community, antisocial or criminal behavior is rare. However, when it does occur, the Babemba have an interesting and beautifully creative way of dealing with it.

If a member of the tribe acts irresponsibly, they are placed at the center of the village. Work stops, and every man, woman, and child in the town gathers around the accused in a large circle. Then, one at a time, everyone, including the children, call out all the good things the person in the center has done previously. All the positive attributes and the kind acts are recited carefully and at length. No one is permitted to exaggerate or be facetious. It’s serious business!

The ceremony often lasts for several days and doesn’t stop until all are drained of every positive comment they can muster about the transgressor. Not one word of criticism concerning the…

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