Saturday 6 March 2021

Lent 3 2021 John 2v13-22,


Love and faith come together

Justice and peace join hands

God open our lips 

And our mouths shall proclaim your praise.


Song “Be still”


Confession-Silence followed by:


We celebrate your creation, your life, your death and resurrection, your interest in us. So to you we pray;


Lord bring new life where we are worn and tired, new love, where we have turned hard hearted, forgiveness, where we feel hurt and where we have wounded, and the joy and freedom of your Holy Spirit where we are the prisoners of ourselves. Amen.


Reading: John 2:13-22

Reflection-Is it ok to be angry as a Christian? 

John 2:13-22


Jesus lost his cool with the bankers! He cleaned out the temple in Jerusalem of market traders, pigeon sellers and money changers. The noise must have been dreadful with money birds flying around and tables being thrown over and Jesus shouting! Imagine the kaffluffel! 


There was an economic network of curtain makers, barbers, incense manufacturers, goldsmiths, trench diggers, shewbread bakers. It was a racketeering issue with ruling class interest. Maybe some parallels with the banks and the hedge funds today? The temple fundamentally was an economic institution that dominated Jerusalem. Again as the financial sector dominates UK economy. Greek or Roman money had to be changed into temple or Tryian coinage for temple dues. There were other money changers, bankers. Doves were sold to the poor and widows, women, lepers, who were considered unclean by the law and were made to pay for it.


Jesus also had an issue with anyone carrying a vessel through the temple. He basically caused all business to be suspended for the day-at a loss to the markets! In the Old Testament the prophet Isaiah (Ch 56) speaks of an inclusive Israel, of giving justice to foreigners who were marginalized and to the dispossessed and outsiders. The thieves or robbers Jesus refers to are social bandits, institutional bandits. There are plenty of them around today! Unless exploitation of the poor stops, the temple will be destroyed. And it was! Could this be true of Britain today?


Jesus attacks the underlying political economy of the temple economy that exploits the poor. His actions upset the temple authorities who depended on the sale of those sacrificial victims and the exchange of money to lubricate their coffers. Prophets were associated with miracles so the Jewish authorities demand a miracle to explain his actions. His answer indicates that despite his anger he does not believe that God lives in buildings alone. The Temple of God he alludes to in his reply is of course his body and by implication our bodies (and the implications of that take some swallowing) which will be resurrected in 3 days. The Jewish authorities are scandalized by his response and fail to understand what he is talking about. And despite his following in Jerusalem, Jesus intuitively knew he could not trust the people. Time would tell that he was right.


Often our holy places are not places of prayer but are cold reminders of a bygone age or are let out, sold for other purposes. We desperately need places to pray-and if churches should be anything they should be those places-and places of justice. Whose side should the church be on, at this time of terrible injustice for so many people? 


The story also speaks to us of the passion of Jesus, his anger, his righteous indignation. We need that passion as a channel to energize our fight against the injustices and abuses we are now daily surrounded by. Anger is a sign that something is wrong, recognizing that and using it rather than getting depressed is essential for our well being and that of families, our society and our world.


Anger at injustice motivates us into action to change the world we live in if we channel that energy constructively. Let your anger over injustice out and use it!


So is it ok to be angry as a Christian? What do you think?


Let us pray for our world, our countries, our communities, families and friends, those who need our prayers.May God’s hand be upon us, angels protect us and the Holy Spirit work in and around us. Amen 


Song “I danced in the morning”


Closing Responses


This is the day God has made

We will rejoice and be glad in it

We will not offer to God

Offerings that cost us nothing

We will go in peace to serve God

We will seek peace and pursue it. Amen.




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