3rd Sunday of Lent - Cleansing and Praying
A Reading …
When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus travelled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.
Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”
John 2: 13 - 17
The Message (MSG)
Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”
New Revised Standard Version
A Thought …
In social media there has been a big surge in house cleaning amongst younger folk. Many are following Mrs Hinch and her cleaning guide and now shops frequently sell out of Zoflora disinfectant and Minky cleaning cloths as recommended by her. You Tube is awash (forgive the pun!) with vlogs showing how to clean your home with various ‘hacks’ to cut the time. It seems to be quite a national obsession!
In our readings today Jesus is ‘cleaning’ the temple, the place of worship which is so central to the Jewish faith. No Zoflora or Minky cloths here but not just a surface cleaning either. It is a ‘cleansing’ a deep clean to the very core of its existence. Out with all that is not of God but also a rallying call to ‘bring in’ all that is of God. A call to prayer, a call to a relationship with God at its deepest roots, a call to a life lived out of prayer, His church, His House.
A couple of years ago at Emmanuel we held a prayer meeting in our church basement to seek God for the way forward, in our vision for this wonderful space. Sadly just a handful of folk came but it was so powerful and so infused with the Holy Spirit it has remained in my memory ever since. Afterwards I put up a simple notice as you enter the doorway into the basement, it reads ‘This is God’s House’. It serves as a reminder to all of us to never forget that our church is not ours but His and to call us to prayer, which should be at the very foundation of every church.
Just a final thought … when we are next able to gather for face to face meetings why not join us for one of our prayer gatherings in God’s House … All are welcome!
A Prayer …
A prayer for ourselves to be open to God cleansing us deep within our hearts, let us pray together …
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord.
The Collect for Purity.
Blessings to all,
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