Temple, cleansing and overturn

The temple complex of Jesus’ time may seem very different from our ideas of
place of worship. Full the noise and smells of animals; sheep bleating, the
fluttering of doves’ wings as they tried to escape their cages.
Imagine the buzz of talk in the air, as people waited to change their corrupting
Roman coins bearing the face of the hated Caesar into the Temple coins, so
they could buy their sacrificial lamb.
Even though this is not our experience, we can tell that Jesus’ actions in
clearing the Temple grounds are shocking and surprisingly violent. It seems
even more so due to John’s positioning of this story as Jesus’ first public act.
What a way for a nobody prophet from the back of beyond to introduce
himself!
It is, however, an act that makes us ask questions; is this the right way to be
worshipping God? Previously it many have been hard for us to imagine just
how deeply Jesus’ actions hit at the heart of Jewish belief as the temple really
did lie at the centre of their faith.
Yet over the last year, we have also lived through events that have deeply
affected the ways we participate in, and understand, worshipping God. Our
routine, honed through the centuries, has been overturned like the tables in
the temple, as some of us attend limited services in buildings, whilst others
seek God within their own walls. Yet, through all this, new ways of reaching
out and worshipping together whilst apart, have been found. Jesus came to
bring God’s message anew and we have been rediscovering what that means
for our worship today. He would pay the price for overturning and unsettling
the way things were with his life; but, in his resurrection, the new life – and
hope- he brings is freely offered to all people.

What is upsetting and overturning our lives today?

Prayer
Loving Lord, many of us do not deal well
with the shock and change
that has overturned our normal lives.
Comfort us, we pray.
Help us to see your hand at work
and, through your Spirit,
help us to worship you
knowing you are
dwelling within our very being
making us living temples. Amen

Activity
Hold a coin in your hands and imagine
those coins spinning and scattering on
the ground in the temple; a symbol of
confusion and disruption.
Light a candle of hope and place the
coin bathed in the light that Christ brings

The Rev’d Julia Quinn