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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Focus: Spring Cleaning With Jesus

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

Jesus is in the temple and he means business – his Father’s business. He’s come to proclaim the new covenant, even though he knows it will cost him his life. But Jesus is not a go-along-get-along guy. For openers, he won’t preach the good news surrounded by the commercial corruption that has come to permeate the house of the Lord. So he overturns counters, dumps the cash drawers and drives the merchants and their livestock from the temple. Jesus is all about love. But his love is consistently obedient to the Father. The prophets had foretold about Jesus that: Zeal for (God’s) house will consume (him.)

It seems straight forward enough, ‘til we realize that once again Jesus is operating on more than one level. The temple that he says will be destroyed and rebuilt is a direct reference to his own approaching sacrificial death and resurrection. And indirectly he tells us that if we are to live in the house of the Lord, we have to do it with reverence and respect.

It is useful to stop and consider that the people he drove from the temple are the very same people he came to save. The people who questioned his legitimacy and authority are the same people he would soon lay down his life for. Jesus loves us all. He knows us all. He died for us all: in our sins, in our arrogance, in our cruelty, in our stupidity. Jesus does not love us for whom we ought to be or for whom we want to be. He loves us as we are -- in our falls and in our resurrections.

Jesus wants us to live in and for his love. To do that, like Jesus, we have some serious cleaning up to do. Paul tells us: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Cor 3:16.) Lent is set aside for each of us to give our temples a really thorough spring cleaning. Hopefully we’re spiritually sprucing up all year round. But Lent is reserved for the heavy-duty jobs – the rigorous personal inventory: What significant opportunities do we have to witness Christ’s love? What obstacles exist? What weaknesses can we isolate and eliminate? What strengths can we build on? What about our relationships: family, neighbors, co-workers? What are our priorities? How do we spend our time?

This isn’t a complete list. But it’s a good start. Tackle your own spiritual spring cleaning list. It will make your life neater, healthier, happier. Roll up your sleeves and pitch in. If you ask him, Jesus will lend a hand – throwing out the guilt, polishing up the joy, making room for love. Spring cleaning with Jesus – that’s what Lent is for.

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