Jesus “does the temple sellers over”!
That story with “us on one side” and “them on the other”. The sacrifice industry and what I believe is called “direct action” on the part of Jesus.
John 2:13-25 … http://www.sacredspace.ie/daily-prayer/2015-03-08
And as I was reading this well known passage today. The one with “us and them” clearly demarcated – He drew me to a little detail I have always overlooked:
”When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
It is butted onto the bottom of the action scenes. And is not really the punchline that makes “us and them” quite so demarcated. Which got me thinking. And thinking. And He drew me to eight words: “ … for he himself knew what was in everyone.”
Do you get a sense there is less “us and them” in those words than we prefer?
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Because how many of us shop where the prices are high, where we perceive the quality as “better”, but – in our individual lives – it is also quicker and easier?
I know I do.
I buy a Costa kiosk coffee once a week when I go to London. It really does costa bomba – but it is “proper coffee” (which I have at home), and it doesn’t require me to carry a flask (which we have at home) – nor does it take any preparation or thinking on my part. I pay a bomba for making it “easy” – the rest is kidology.
And this morning He took me into the Temple.
And He stood on the other side of the counter: the sellers’ side.
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And I saw me coming in there – checking my watch – my head full of stuff I had to do. A little late. A little rushed. A little disconnected. A little in need of ticking this “sacrifice stuff” off my list for the week. A little in need of being seen to be sacrificing. A little in need of the kidology of routine and habit. A little in need of easy.
I saw myself paying the higher price. Kidding myself the temple sellers had better quality. Kidding myself that I wouldn’t have found the same quality had I needed to go looking. Kidding myself. Me making God easy. And I felt Jesus’ indignation at me. And I never ever realised before. I have always been on His side before. I have only ever seen His indignation at “them”.
And I have cheered.
This morning there was no “them”. There was no easy. There was simply a sadness expressed through His indignation – His direct action – that “we” are all on the same side. All of us making God Easy too often.
This third Sunday in Lent? Three quarters of the way through whatever it is the calendar says we should be three quarters of the way through?
He asked me this:
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“Would you treat your lover like this Paul? Would you like me to make “Paul Easy”? Make you a habit, a routine, a minimal intrusion on ever thinking about you? Is that Love, Paul?”
And I saw myself skipping in to my Sunday temple. I saw myself checking my watch for stuff I had planned after this one hour’s intrusion into my life. I saw myself pulling a note or a coin from a pocket with many notes and coins. I saw myself resenting the “irritating hymns”, the odd style of the visiting minister, the way everyone sits in the back half of the seats, the clunky media operator, the stuff that jars on my easy worship. And I saw myself so often skipping “skipping into my Sunday worship” because the clock had come around too quickly to get there. And – kidology? – my personal worship is so damned good in this little room anyway.
And I saw kidology through His eyes.
I did not see any “them”.
I saw only one side of “the counter” this morning:
And I wasn’t there very often.