Sunday, March 11, 2012
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. John 2:13-22
Sometimes we get so used to the way things are, the routine, the everyday, that we never stop to even consider what we are doing. There are many ways to make a good cup of coffee or tea, but most people make their cuppa the same way every time. We go to church and most likely sit in the same place, great the same people, have a routine of brunch, newspaper or the like thereafter. We find routine comforting and supportive but we often don't notice the people around us, and how our routines might actually challenge their faith. The people who chide noisy children can break a parent's heart. Those who push past the elderly, slow and injured can do damage more than physical. Hearts can be broken and fragile faith destroyed for our needs and conveniences.
Jesus saw the norm, the routine, the market-driven holy place and turn things upside down. Folks had gotten so used to the business, the money-changing, the sale of sacrificial animals, they never even noticed what their routines might actually be doing. Driving the poor of heart, those who could not afford the going rates, those who's trip alone cost them everything - all these were broken by the usual routine, the careless, insensitive, exclusive and vulgar habits that defined the norm. Jesus invites us deeper into our Lenten journey, to a serious look at our routines and our lives. Are we living with compassion for others, or living to get through. Are we seeing with the eyes of God, or through shades to filter out the human pain and drama?
Today, as we walk this journey together, may we open our eyes to the needs right before us, and offer sacrifices of love and service, as God intends. May our routines daily be broken by love, compassion and service. May we offer ourselves so that others may see God, and may we be instruments of God's love and peace in this season and always.
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.