Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!

This week's gospel sound-bite catches another shockingly confrontational moment in Jesus life: in his first moments of public ministry (according to John), Jesus makes as scene at the temple where he's come to celebrate Passover.

Finding the courtyard full of people selling animals to offer to God, and moneychangers to help folks from lots of different places make those offerings, Jesus fashions a whip and chases them all out.  

"Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"
The other Gospels give him another line, about turning the temple into a "den of thieves."  But John leaves his complaint with having made God's house a "marketplace."  Which makes me wonder what the difference is between a marketplace and a den of thieves...

It leaves me to imagine that what set Jesus off wasn't that the booths are charging outrageous tourist prices for the sheep, doves and cattle folks would have been purchasing to fulfill their obligations to make offerings to God on this holy day.  It was something about them selling sheep, doves and cattle at all.

I'm wondering if maybe he was overcome by a shocking realization that people were giving way more energy to buying the right sheep, doves and cattle for worship than they were to worshipping God?  

I confess: I sometimes spend way too much time thinking (obsessing?) about things that aren't what really matters.  And I wonder how clearly my life--what people see me spending my time on and giving myself to--communicates about God's role in my life. 

What if we're not supposed to ask "Am I putting the cart before the horse," but "Am I putting the sheep, doves and cattle before real worship?"

1 comment:

Lea M. Booth said...

This seems like an underscore of "I desire mercy and not sacrifice"...