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8 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: John 2.13-22

The Church of England is in the thick of exciting change at the moment. Nothing entirely new you might say, but it is more a matter of rediscovering our core purposes and principles, and being more intentional about them. We are specifically intentional about three things – growing in numbers and spiritual life, making a difference for the common good in our society, and developing re-imagined and effective patterns of mission and ministry for the 21st century. Our first woman bishop, Libby Lane – and the Consecration of a traditional catholic, Philip North  – and the ‘five principles’ that have made it possible for us to move forward in fellowship and in trust, despite differences of opinion  – are evidence of this. Praise God, the Holy Spirit is working in us the effects of the Cross of Christ.

Any institution, especially a religious one, needs an overhaul every so often. We all get stuck in routines – some of them, like the habits of the moneychangers in the Temple, are hard to justify.

What Jesus did, in turning the tables of the moneychangers, was more than an overhaul. He was not proposing some gentle reforms. This was revolution in the Temple. Here was someone with the authority to call the Temple ‘My Father’s house.’ This was radically new.

If we have made our followership of Jesus Christ comfortable, or if we have hijacked his good news of salvation to suit our own self-interest, we may well be in for a shock. Jesus did not mince his words that day, nor was he “gentle and mild”. Nothing would stop him clearing the Temple of what should not be there, and replacing it with prayer and praise.

I wonder what you think Jesus would make of your home and church? What would he change? And more to the point, what would he change in you and me?  What has made you, the temple of the Holy Spirit, a den where thieves and robbers hide?

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 2.13-22

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 market-place!’ 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.