Lent Reflections @ CEC (3/14/20)
“Just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands, and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him — really rest.” St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: John 2:13-22
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
Jesus was not who "they" expected. "They" were the leaders of the Jewish faith and the temple was THE center of Jewish life - the place where one went to meet with God - to make restitution and atonement for sin. And in that time, there was a great deal of opposition and control by the Roman government. The Jewish people were looking for THE Messiah -their savior. To rescue them from oppression - just like at the time of the Exodus.
Yet now, in their temple, the Savior, who "they" believed was coming to PROTECT the temple, began to overturn tables and drive out the sacrificial animals, in essence cutting right to the heart of their religious system. Not only that, he told them that if they tore down the temple, he could rebuild it in 3 days. WHAT? Thankfully John explains that Jesus is talking about his body - and His resurrection. These are the very words the disciples remembered after the resurrection.
I'm guessing that those who were at the temple that did not see that coming. It is the same for us. We do not see what's coming - and I often think that if we did, we would be tempted to literally turn and run. I really have never imagined our current circumstances - the closing of all schools, banning of large public gatherings, people hoarding toilet paper - as something that we would be dealing with.
I'm reminded of two things:
Jesus did the unexpected - so can i. Right now, in spite of the climate of fear all around, I can exhibit the peace of Christ. I can be wise AND be loving. I can be generous. I can share hope in a loving way. I can listen to people's fears.
The disciples remembered - so can I. My current reminders from the Lord these past few weeks (having nothing to do with the coronavirus) are these: I will be with you - that is all you need. And the words of Jesus to all the people who told him that Jairus' daughter was already dead - "Do not be afraid - only believe." These are the things I remember.
We ask for Your protection even as we ask that You would continue to show us how to be Your hands and Your feet to our family, neighbors and friends as we walk through these difficult days. You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind. We ask for the wisdom that You have promised to give when we ask You. We ask for Your healing touch over our world. We look to You for all that we need, and help us to be peaceful, loving people in the face of chaos and confusion - point people to You.