(inspired by John 2:13-22; Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48)
Truth be told, Jesus,
There are lots of tables that need overturning
in our lives;
Beneath the veneer of respectability
the tidy rows and neat regulations
hide dark addictions and angry judgements
hungry greeds and heartless rejections
We know the pain—and so do those around us—
of keeping up the facade;
What a relief it would be to have it all
upset, smashed, scattered, destroyed
So, perhaps, Jesus, today you could pay us a visit
and help us to radically rearrange
the furniture of our lives
Amen. written by John van de Laar, and posted on Sacredise.
Jesus cleanses the temple,
Jesus, cleanser of temples and souls,
at this mid-point in the Lenten journey,
look deep within our hearts and our lives,
and clear away all that holds us back.
May our minds, spirits and bodies
be a Temple that is open to Your presence:
and may our words and our actions
be transparent to Your love and truth.
We pray that this church community,
will be purified in its life and mission,
so that all that we do in and from here
may reveal Your Gospel to others.
In a moment of silence we sit before You,
and name those things for which
we seek Your cleansing and healing,
so that we may be more faithful disciples.
Words of assurance
Friends of Jesus, we are made clean
by the words he has spoken to us.
There is room in our lives and in our community
for the Holy One to dwell. Thanks be to God. Amen.
written by Ann Siddall, and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre website. https://stillpointsa.org.au/
"Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers" (from The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision)
by Douglas Blanchard. Blanchard teaches art and art history at the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York.
Blanchard is right to paint this scene in a place that could be a bank or a church, because the Temple in Jerusalem was not only a religious institution; the Temple held private deposits of wealth in its treasury, made loans, and collected debts, as well as selling animals for sacrifice. The Temple money-changers exchanged everyday currency for the temple coins that were required for paying the annual temple tax and for making offerings. They made big profits by using unfair exchange rates and adding service charges. Jesus’ angry outburst has fascinated artists down the ages, but overall the angry Jesus has been downplayed in favour of other, perhaps more-comfortable aspects of the life of Christ. Blanchard is perhaps the only artist to paint a “gay vision” of the day that Jesus fought back against the merchants who turned the holy temple into a place of commerce.
Holy God, in Jesus Christ you have built for us
an eternal house, a temple of righteousness,
a place of gracious plenty for the hungry
and abundant life for the poor in spirit.
Fill us with zeal for the body of Christ.
Overturn the tables of corruption and greed
and upset the imbalance of injustice,
so that we may worship you in spirit and truth;
through Jesus Christ, who is risen indeed.
Presbyterian Church USA website. http://www.pcusa.org/
we bring to this sanctuary
and place on this table,
our burdens and brokenness,
our self-image bruised and hurting,
our fears, shame, doubts and anxieties,
the raw materials we ask You to bless and change,
that in our dark tunnels
we may begin to see light
and in our desert experiences
we may find You.
Scott Mckenna, Minister. Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Weekly Worship website. http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/
O God, help us to use this season of Lent
to examine our attachments,
and to sense where You invite us
to live more simply and deeply.
Shine the light of Your love
into the private corners of our lives
where we have acquired so much clutter
that it has begun to restrict our freedom.
Grant us the strength to free ourselves
from appetites and needs that drive us
into taking, having and wanting
more than we need or have time for.
Teach us that in letting go
we become free, rather than deprived,
generous rather than covetous,
and spacious rather than restricted.
We offer You our Lenten observance,
and today we place our feet
on the road to Easter, and walk
the Way that You have walked before us.
written by Ann Siddall and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre website. https://stillpointsa.org.au/
Here, at the outer limits of Lent, we are called to walk: to the paper-thin edges which cut us to the soul; to the workplaces which weary us; to the people who confuse us; to the faith which threatens us.
Here, at the corner of Steadfast Love and Faithfulness,
we are called to wait: when our clenched stomachs awaken us; in the moments of unbearable sorrow; with the angels who would carry us.
Here, where time is fulfilled, where God's Kingdom is as near to us as our neighbour,
we journey through Lent: with the Beloved,
whose tears wash away our fears, with the God who will not let go of our hands.
written by Rev. Thom Shuman and posted on Lectionary Liturgies. http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.ca/