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.”
[John 2: 13–17]
During the pandemic, particularly during the lockdowns, our churches have been stripped of all that usually happens within them. There was no one with a whip to drive out our activities. We probably weren’t selling cattle and doves for money, or cheating people with false weights and measures. But now all has been stripped away, when we look back – should all those things be allowed back in?
Jesus’s act cleansed the temple of things that shouldn’t be there, things that distracted from the purpose of the temple – the worship of God, and care for those in need. What do we need cleansed from our churches? What about what we need cleansed from our lives? After all, we are the body of Christ, our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit. What things should we cleanse from ourselves?
There are several worship songs that speak of cleansing. ‘When the music fades’ by Matt Redman was written when his church stopped singing in order to refocus on God and to ensure that singing was for God and not themselves. This is perhaps something for us to reflect on as we can’t sing in church at the moment. A song that focuses on cleansing ourselves would be ‘Purify my heart (Refiner’s fire)’ by Brian Doerksen.
Cleanse our hearts and minds.
Help us to focus on you and you alone.
Help us to cleanse our worship,
That you will be glorified,
And all will see and know you.
Thank you for loving us so completely;
Help us to love you in the same way.