I find such profound hilarity in Scripture. This has always been the case and I do not foresee a deviation from this in my future. The passage in the second chapter of John where Jesus drives the people selling livestock out of the temple is one that always got me giggling in the pews as a little kid. I affectionately knew it as, “That one time Jesus gave them people a spankin’.” I imagined Jesus causing absolute chaos in public and couldn’t help but laugh at the subversion of my expectations. The way Jesus, someone I usually saw as peaceful and subdued, was now embodying what seemed like the exact opposite characteristics blew my mind and tickled my funny bone.
When thinking about that passage today I laugh just as hard, but for different reasons. I laugh because it’s wild to me that the love of money has driven people to profane sacred spaces for thousands of years. I laugh at the looks of shock and confusion Jesus must have seen as he ran full force at them with a whip made of robes. I laugh at the fact that these people thought they could get away with mistreating their sisters and brothers in faith right in the temple. Finally, I laugh at the arrogance carried by the idea that I am innocent of the same crime.
Though I still find much funny about this event and the way that it is recounted, further thought leads me to a pretty sobering question. Based on the way that I engaged others would my table have been flipped? Would my face have been one painted by shock and awe as a young Rabbi charged at me? Who knows? What I do know is that, in the space of Lenten wrestling, these questions have assisted me in gaining a renewed awareness of reverence due sacred spaces, but more importantly my neighbors as divine image-bearers. The intensity and passion of Jesus’ response reinforces this more than anything.
This Sunday, Pastor Jenn will speak to us about this passage as well as Exodus 20:1-17. Continuing in The Hero’s Journey sermon series, she’ll explore our baptismal vow to accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. I can’t wait to worship with you all!
Grace and peace,