Holy Zeal

Holy Zeal

The account of Jesus “cleansing the temple” is told in all four Gospels but with several significant differences.  Matthew, Mark and Luke place this account toward the end of Jesus’ life, while John places it much closer to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  Jesus enters the temple during Passover—a very active, busy time—and turns everything, literally and figuratively, upside down.  The temple was THE established place to meet and encounter God.  And, through this encounter, Jesus suggests that the old order is passing and something new is being established.  While the temple had served as the place to meet God, there was now a new place, a new locus for God’s presence…in the very person and body of Jesus himself.  What did that mean for folks back then?  What can it possibly mean for us today?

Click here to read the third session of our Lenten Series called “Spiritual Practices for the Wilderness.”  This week we’ll explore the practice of the Labyrinth.  You are invited to view the video and practice the practice!  The video was filmed at First United Methodist Church in San Diego and they welcome guests to come and walk their outdoor labyrinth.  You can find additional labyrinths in the county through a google search. If you don’t feel up to walking the labyrinth, no worries!  You can engage in this practice using a “finger labyrinth” as well.

I hope you’ll join us for online worship at 9:00 as we offer our praise and thanks to God, as we connect with God’s love, community and call and as we explore our faith together.  Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below.  If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link.  Drop-ins are welcome!  Looking forward to being together on Sunday!

Pastor Lori

John 2:13-22 (NRSV)

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!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your response or reaction to Jesus’ anger in this account?
  2. Can you think of a time/place/circumstance, for you or another, when devotion to God has inadvertently shifted to devotion to rites/rituals/structure/institution?
  3. What are your current thoughts and feelings related to our United Methodist Church as an institution?
  4. Through what means do you most directly connect with Jesus?

One Comment

    David DeBus

    What is your response or reaction to Jesus’ anger in this account?
    I am doubtful that the Book of John provides a historically faithful account. Nevertheless, this incident has occupied my imagination, prayer and thinking for decadeshem . I wrote an essay decades back called, “The Severity of Love” in which I discuss the Tree of Sephiroth as put into the world by Ha Ari, aka Yitzak Luria, in the 15th century CE in the town of Tzfad, aka Safed, in the north of Israel. Severity (Gevurah) and Mercy (Chesed) on this Tree are at opposite pillars, balancing one another, and more recent Jewish mystics including my Jewish teacher see them as “in eternal coition.” Put simply, enacting love in the world sometimes requires severe responses to poor boundaries and misappropriations of holiness.

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