Love one another

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16NIV

It is Monday of Holy Week, it is Monday of the next week of quarantine. Only by remembering each day can I function in Monday mode. Because it doesn’t feel like a Monday.

Imagine with me a job. This job is to capture and breed doves and then sell them in the Temple Courts. Imagine the Monday morning blues of that job. There is bird excrement to clean out of the cages, legs and bodies to wash, carefully transporting them to the Temple Court. As these doves are going to be the offering for the Jewish families that visit they need to be clean and perfect. So, a lot of the job will be keeping them clean and ready.

Imagine arriving to work, setting up the stall and waiting to make enough money to feed your family. The sun is moving upwards and the heat is rising. You remain grateful that you can enjoy the benefits of Temple prayers and sacrifice. The poor shepherds are not allowed and the tax collectors are frowned upon. No, you are happy on the inner circle. Well not the inner circle – that’s family. Two thousand years later churches are full of families but it is the “few” families that rule there too.

And then this one Monday happens, it is a busy day because Passover is nearly upon us, men from all over have descended on Jerusalem and are very particular about the bird they want to buy. First of course they have to change their dirty “Caesar” money for the Temple currency and then they come to see the doves. There’s a kerfuffle at the entrance as 13 men appear together. That’s The Teacher one of your customers tells you. He is teaching all over the place, he makes good sense they say.

Jesus, that is his name this teacher character. He is coming straight for your stall, but this is not a smiling teaching pose, he looks well, angry. He tips over your stall and everyone else’s.

“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” .

Luke 19:46

A thief, you are offended, of course you are. Why wouldn’t you be? But there’s nothing else to do here so you decide to follow him and see what else he gets up to.

In this time of pandemic it is time to focus on the important things of life. What are the doves and temple money in your life? What are they in mine?

What do we need to let go of in order to follow Jesus more completely?

What irks us in the angry Jesus story?

How are we comforted by the Servant King today?

Jesus knew on this Monday that by Friday night he’d be dead. He knew going into the Temple that is was all going to be ripped asunder in a few days. He knew that this was it, the reason he had come, the reason he had Judas as his treasurer. To be fully human means anger will be shown. What is making us angry today?

What burdens are we carrying that we can do nothing about in uncertainty, in anxious times?

How can we express our love for one another when we cannot meet? God loved the world so very, very much that he sent his only son Jesus to be the Saviour of this world. In this unsettling period – cleave to Him, cling to Him, hold on to Him. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (HEB 12:1b-2)