January 22, 2020
Scripture: Matthew 21:12-13
Then Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you’ve made it a hideout for crooks.”
Thought for the Day: This story needs to be read with two others stories – first, the triumphant entry into Jerusalem; and second, the sharing of the meal between Jesus and his disciples. These three stories are glimpses of a new age, or as Jesus will say, “…in my Father’s Kingdom.” So often this is read as end of life (what happens when we die), but the Palm Sunday parade is a vision of God’s Heavenly Reign breaking into the human world. The cleansing of the temple was symbolic of what the prophets sought in a new temple, a place where justice and shalom were embodied. And the meal was a hint of the divine feast where love would be the only rule at the table. In Matthew, the only Gospel writer to use the word church (Ekklesia), we find a presentation of what church should look like. His eschatological language (apocryphal, end of time) is less about some sort of cosmic end to existence, but a new age arising within the community called the church. And as Matthew’s image of the church expands in the world – where justice and shalom are made real, and a meal of love invites all – the old passes away as the new takes hold. This isn’t a numbers game of church growth, but a vision of discipleship where the task of the Jesus follower is to boldly embody what Jesus embodied.
Prayer: May the work of our faith community be less about maintenance and survival, O Spirit who gave birth to the church. Ignite our passion for a church that allows others to glimpse the divine reign. Amen.
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