Meditations of my Heart

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Pay, No Pray!


Mark 11:15-16
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.

It's Sunday morning. Your family and you, freshly scrubbed and decked out in your finest, climb into your car and head for church. You are happily anticipating the service where you can praise and worship God together. As you turn onto the church's driveway, instead of be greeted by the familiar building with its soaring steeple, you are aghast and appalled by the scene unfolding before you. There, on the spacious church lawn, a raucous and tawdry traveling carnival has pitched its tents and rides. Discordant calliope music blares from gigantic speakers. The air is permeated by the odors of rancid cotton candy and stale popcorn. A garish clown with a leering grin holds balloons and waves frantically at you as he dances next to a sign which reads: Want church? Play three games, get three passes to enter. No pay, no pray!

What??? Your jaw drops to your chest, your eyes flash, your face turns beet-red with indignation and, yes, you are seething with rage! Is it difficult now to identify with the ire and outrage Jesus felt upon seeing the desecration in the courts of His Father's house? Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, rich and poor, flocking to the temple to worship at the Passover with repentant hearts and steadfast faith, are hampered, harassed, and cheated by the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice. Jesus has had enough of this blasphemous circus and, with a physical anger not witnessed in Him anywhere else in the gospels, He banishes them with dramatic force, with actions they will not soon forget.

Jesus demonstrates for us here the concept of righteous anger, genuine distress in reaction to an injustice done or an innocent violated. Instead of sharing with you right now the things that stir up a righteous anger in me, I would like to hear from you first. Please share what rouses a righteous anger in you in the comment section below or on the Facebook feed. I'm looking forward to the dialogue!

Readings
Psalms 106:1-18 or 106:19-48
2 Samuel 17:24-18:8
Acts 22:30-23:11
Mark 11:12-26

4 comments:

  1. I’m sorry Martha, but that first paragraph with carnival and clown saying, “Want church?... no pay no pray” was hysterical! The absurdity of that scene is the perfect depiction to convey what Jesus must have felt.
    What stirs up righteous anger in me? Now there’s a good question. I’ll have to ponder this one and get back with you in a bit…

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  2. I'm glad you liked the opening, Debra! It was another one of those God-given, out-of-his-blue, concepts that I adore hearing from Him.

    Okay, I'll give on what causes righteous anger in me: the elderly being preyed upon or abused, children abused or neglected, and animals being mistreated. I'm sure there are more, but those come immediately to mind.

    Thanks for your continued support and encouragement, Debra! With my mother-in-law in the hospital, I've really needed a boost this week!

    Blessings!

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  3. Okay, I’ve contemplated this all day, and have decided that ANYTHING that God hates, we should hate as well.
    There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers... (Proverbs 6:16-20 ESV) Sound familiar?
    All we need do to see the above things in action is look at our political leaders - and if I could get by with it, I’d love to take a whip and run most of them home. I know, I know, Capitol Hill isn’t exactly God’s house, but it is a den of thieves. And we are supposed to be one nation under God.
    Just say ‘n.

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  4. Yes, we are supposed to be that one nation under God! I'm so grateful for your thoughtful commentary and scriptural witness.

    I, like you, think there are too many money changers on Capitol Hill and I love this analogy! I guess our only whip is to vote them out at the next opportunity.

    May we always love what God loves and fight the good fight against what He hates.

    Blessings!

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