Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cleaning Up

"So he made a whip of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables." John 2:15

I have never actually designed and installed a kitchen in a house. I have helped with lots of renovations and repairs and Mark and I had a lot of work to do on our first row house, but it did not include ripping out and replacing the kitchen. That is a very expensive proposition and the kitchen was adequate for our needs.That hasn't stopped me dreaming about what I would design if money and labor were unlimited. Since I have spent a good deal of my life by the ocean, a thought occurred to me early on. I used to watch the fishermen clean their boats, sealing the cabins and hosing everything down. And dockside restaurants too can just hose everything down since the wooden tables are sealed, the gaps in the board walk draining right into the ocean. I always wanted a kitchen you could clean with a hose - a central drain in the floor, tightly sealed cabinets and appliances, and five minutes with a hose. And like the outside shower my Dad built, all the water would run down a pipe into the garden. The garden would flourish as would the person cleaning the kitchen - everything done with a garden hose.

Jesus entered the temple shortly after his first miracle. It was close on time for Passover and people were coming form all over to make their sacrifice. He knew that the folks selling the animals and doves, changing money were not there for the good of the people or the glory of God. They were there to make a huge profit off of human need and the fulfillment of the law. They were there only to profit, to take people for everything they had. This was not a sign of a community providing a service for folks, rather a cut-throat business designed to take advantage of the poor and the outsiders. God doesn't seem to approve of the abuse of the poor and strangers, much less so when it happens within the holy places, like temples and churches. Unfortunately, we still have a tendency to reject the poor and strangers in our midst, making their entry into holy places restricted by langauage, custom and cost. Jesus calls us in this season of Lent to clear out all of the stuff that id barring the most needy in our lives from God's love. God calls us in this season to self-examination, not for the sake of our selves alone but that other might find welcome and the holy drawing near.

Today, as a stranger in a new place, I want to be aware of what needs to be cleaned out in me so that I might see the people around me with the eyes of love. I want to look and listen with a heart that is ready for the stranger, the poor and all God puts in my path. It is easy to dream about designs, much harder to live God's beautiful and humble design - loving neighbor as myself. May God grant us all the strength to live into that beautiful design, when nothing or no one is barred for the holy and life-giving love of the Savior of the World.

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