From my speech at Wesley Eventide, April 15, 2015.
I did not want to talk about this year, this hard year. I did not have anything to say that anyone would want to hear.
It had been just that. Hard. Difficult.
Where was I going to get a sunny, happy speech out of my cloudy times.
I live under this idea that I must be happy all of the time. Ephesians 4:26 right? Do not let the sun set on your anger. But what if I am tired and angry and that is all I am, all I have?
None of my plans had worked out and I am left JADED.
We talked about this word once before in youth group long ago... jaded... I did not understand what it really meant then.
I understand now.
Jaded means to have too much of something. This year I had had to much Church. I was tired and disappointed with the Church and this exhaustion had turned to anger. What do you do when you are angry with the Church, this place I love and cherish more than anything? What do you do when you are angry with God, even? What now? I was left unprepared for these many feelings, it is a side of faith not covered.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
We uses to talk about this verse in Sunday school as a warning against materialism and sin in God's church. As a child I honestly found it funny because the mental image of peaceful, bearded Jesus flipping over tables was too much! And I did not relate. I was not going to sell doves... I was in the clear!
But I look at this verse differently now. This verse shows Jesus being angry, a side not often shown or covered. Jesus was angry in the face of injustice. John shows an even more extreme version!
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!”
Jesus made a whip! How does one even make a whip!? This just seems outrageous but Jesus was so upset and angry fueled by the disappointment with sinners that he made a whip and chased the people out of His Father's house.
Jesus did not stay quiet, he was confrontational (a word that many of us shy from). He would not have been voted "Most polite church lady".
But He was REAL! He showed his anger, feelings and opinions to impart change.
The other day as I was mulling over this verse and whether I want to talk about it or not, I asked one of my best friends thoughts. I love to hear her ideas because she is open and truthful with a point of view from outside of the church. I asked her about the flipping over tables passage and literally her response was , "Jesus was one Real dude."
Jesus was one Real Dude! Yes!
He came into the synagogue and flipped over tables out of anger with the people!
I began to think, if we are taught to live like Jesus, confrontation and maybe a bit of anger is a part of it. Not in a hurtful way but in productive way. Jesus came to make things better, out with the old laws an in with the new love and mercy. In his journey he was Real and honest.
So this bring me to some questions for careful thought and reflection:
1. If Jesus came to our church today, what "tables" would he flip over? What would he say "this is not supposed to be in my Father's house of prayer" to? Would it be cliques? judgement? materialism?
2. How about in our own lives? If Jesus came into our lives and looked into all the deep cranes, all of the hidden compartments, what "tables" would he flip over? What would He chase out?
These are hard questions because we know we are not perfect, though we try to look like it. There are tables that need flipping over in our own life just as their are problems in all our churches. As the school year comes to an end and we enter into another season of "spring cleaning" let us identify problems in our lives and communities that can be discussed, flipped and fixed.