Lent Day 35 – Turning Over The Tables

Posted: March 21, 2016 by leighannegreenwood in Uncategorized

The exact timeline of Holy Week is a little hard to figure out, but the Synoptic Gospels (that’s Matthew Mark and Luke) all agree that at some point after arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus walks into the temple and turns over the tables of the moneylenders and those selling animals for sacrifices, declaring that they have turned the house of God from a place of prayer into a den of thieves.

Jesus is angry, really angry, and it seems to be because worship has lost its focus. It has become about maintaining the cult and turning a profit, even in the midst of great social inequality, which we know was visible in the temple because the story of the poor widow who gives all she has comes just a day or two later.

The people have forgotten the words of Micah, who said:

With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (6:6-8)

And of Isaiah, who said:

Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
    and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (58:5-7)

We too live in a time of great social inequality, when so much worship has become about ritual and gain, and so perhaps we might think today about what tables we need to turn over, who we need to challenge, where the words of Jesus and the prophets need to be heard afresh…


40thoughts:tend your scars

40acts: buoyancy aid

Leeds Prayer Diary: Leeds City of Sanctuary

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