Lent 3, 2024

We live in a time of transition and change. The things which my grandparents thought were absolutely true and good are often considered wicked and false by many today. We often cite sexual ethics here, but this applies to all sorts of things. The institution of marriage today would almost be unrecognizable to our grandparents’ generation. But even something like missionary work is often seen as a morally complicated imposition of our culture on another culture. My grandfather ardently supported the work of missionaries around the world. He thought he was doing a good thing.

Today we get to see Jesus the revolutionary. He is turning over the tables of the money changes and upsetting the stalls of those who sell pigeons and lambs in the temple. It was a good money-maker if you could get a license to do that, captive audience, obvious need, virtual monopoly on supply…, but Jesus saw something else.

I think too often we want Jesus to approve of our lives and leave our tables unturned. Change always makes us uncomfortable and some change is not good, but we cannot resist the wicked changes by denying Jesus His right to overturn our tables too. We cannot do that anyway. He will always find a way, but we like to resist that and imagine that we are in the right to do so.

The preacher will have a bit of a tightrope to walk this week. In a time of change, it is easy to resist the wicked changes which see around us. But how does one preach the necessary change we call repentance in that sermon? How does Jesus have the opportunity to turn over the tables of your congregant’s heart today?

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