Holy Week-Monday Table Flipping

The parade is over. The crowd has dispersed. What will one day be known as Palm Sunday has come to a close. The evening is setting in, and Jesus stops by the Temple before heading back to Bethany for the evening.

Evidently Jesus did not like what he saw.

And what did Jesus see? He saw tables filled with temple approved currency. He saw cages full of pre-approved livestock for sacrifice. He saw table after table filled with must have merchandise for the Passover Pilgrim. He saw lots of space dedicated to shoppers, and to merchants which left no space for worshipers.

So what did Jesus do with what he saw? After a night to think, and pray about it he decided to make more space for worshipers. He arrived at the Temple on Monday with a whip in hand to drive animals out of the temple. He flipped tables over sending money, and money changers scattering. All the while he quoted scripture at the top of his lungs, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’

So what was it about the temple that made Jesus so mad?

jesus-cleanses-the-temple

Pilgrims were supposed to be coming to Jerusalem to encounter God, not be gouged. They were supposed to be coming to worship not to shop. They came to bring their offerings, make their sacrifices, sing songs and pray prayers. But what the encountered were people out to make a profit. The pilgrims were told the animals they brought were not pure enough, but they needn’t worry the merchants had just what they needed, at a premium price tag of course.

Likewise the money they carried, money from the countries they lived that was stamped with images of rulers or gods from those lands, well that couldn’t go into the temple’s coffers. Thankfully the money changers were there to help take care of that problem, for a fee of course.

Jesus would have none of it. People wanted to worship God so Jesus removed the obstacles preventing them.

While it is odd for me to picture Jesus this way I like the idea that he wanted to clear a path for people to encounter God. I have been to very few churches that actually set up tables filled with things that have to be bought before people are allowed to enter, but that doesn’t mean we don’t set up obstacles.

Do we sneer at the single mother with a squirmy child? Do we cast glances at the person who walks in with shabby clothes? Do we constantly use words that no one outside of the church understands. All of these things and more scream you do not belong here. Which makes them tables that need to be flipped in our churches.

***Please note dividing events into individual days during Holy Week is up for interpretation. I am using a time line providing by Bible Gateway.***

Holy Week- Palm Sunday

I get why Jesus rode in on a donkey. I understand that the kings of Jerusalem road in on donkeys in peace times and in on horses in times of war. So I get that Jesus is declaring both his kingship, and that he is coming in peace. I also understand that the Messiah riding on a donkey was a long standing prophecy. God had declared centuries before hand through Zechariah that this was the way the Messiah, the king of Israel would present himself.

So I get the donkey. I understand why it happened, and what Jesus was saying to the crowd. What I don’t get is the donkey’s owner.

How did the owner know to give it to Jesus? Was he an unknown and unnamed believer? Was it hard to part with his piece of property at a moments notice? Did the owner expect it the donkey?

I doubt I will ever know the answer to these questions no matter how hard I try.

But there is another question that this story causes me to ask; am I ready to give up something that I own if I felt God was asking me for it?

As I look around my house there are lots of things I own that I feel I need. Likewise there are lots of things that I really treasure. I love my games and gadgets. But what if I felt God saying, ‘Christopher these are too much of a distraction in your life, give them up.’ I love spending time working away on my blog. But what if I felt God saying, ‘Christopher the time you spend on your blog and social media is a source a jealousy and pride in your life,I need you to give them up.’ Or worse still what if for no apparent reason God ask me to give up coffee?!

Could I really part with things I own, hobbies I enjoy? What if the stakes were higher? What if I felt God calling us to move away from our friends and family? Or what if I felt God saying that the savings we have have set aside needs to be given away? Would I really be as quick to give what I have to God as this man was I know the answer needs to be yes, otherwise I have discovered an idol tucked away in my life.

This is the question I am reflecting on today. Is there anything in my life that is I am keeping off limits to God? I would encourage you to reflect on this as well.

Are you ready to give up your ‘donkey’ at a moments notice?

PalmSundayJesusOnDonkey

 

***Please note dividing events into individual days during Holy Week is up for interpretation. I am using a time line providing by Bible Gateway.***

Wait Is That A New Post? It Is, Neat!

This is my first post since May of 2015. I didn’t mean to not write anything since May of 2015 that is just how things landed. I have however been feeling compelled to try to write again. Mostly because Facebook keeps reminding me of things I wrote before. I have been treated to memories and feelings that had nearly completely slipped away from me that I got to relive. I think that I would like to be able to relive the things happening around me now some time later too.

The journey from May 2015 to September 2016 has been dramatic. Everyone is of course older. I am still adjusting to the idea that my children are 7, 5, and 3 not 6, 4 and 2. We are in that space were we have said goodbye to all things baby, and most things toddler while embracing all things school aged, and pre-school aged. I know I said I wouldn’t miss those baby years but there are moments that I do. Those moments don’t come at 2 am, or at meal times but still they come.

Off to summer camp

Getting older, but as cute as ever if I do say so myself.

The past few months have included a few more profound changes as well. First Meghan has become a co-founder of a school. I haven’t gotten used to writing or saying that out loud yet it sounds crazy but it is very true. For as long as I have know Meghan she has been  driven, and talented and ultimately she could do anything she wanted, but I didn’t expect this. And yet here we are Meghan along with her best friend and business partner Adele have opened there own school called Via Vita Academy. They even were able to hire a wonderful teacher, Alicia to complete their team this first year.

I am in awe of you ladies way to go following your dreams.

The school year kicked off last week with 20 excited students ranging from pre- kindergarten all the way up to grade 9. The school is focused on small classes, peer leadership, excellence in academics and learning essential life skills. I don’t want to turn this into a commercial but if you are in the greater Halifax area, have school aged children and are unhappy with your current school you really should check them out.

Working hard on their school garden

Working hard on their school garden

As for me, I have concluded my ministry as the solo pastor at Sackville United Baptist Church and have begun a new ministry as the lead pastor at Stevens Road United Baptist Church. It has been a good transition all be it somewhat bittersweet at times. We hated to say goodbye to many friends yet we were so excited to follow God where he was leading us. Stevens Road is another big change for us. I am a part of a pastoral team including an associate pastor of families and a worship director. It is great working alongside talented and passionate people.

Pastor Erin and I having a grand time at our dessert auction. Thanks Snapd Dartmouth for the photo!

Pastor Erin and I having a grand time at our dessert auction. Thanks Snapd Dartmouth for the photo!

I started here at the end of May and it has been great so far. Lots to learn, lots of people to get to know and more importantly lots of great work to do. I love our vision here at Stevens Road we exist to; Inspire deeper faith and service, to integrate generations in worship and ministry and to impact our community and beyond. Now all we have to do is figure out how we are being asked to do those things.

I still feel like I am leaving something out… Oh yeah I achieved two life long dreams. I grew a scraggly beard that and bought a light up bow tie for Christmas Eve!

Marry Christmas! I swear my beard looks less scraggy in person..a little anyway.

Marry Christmas! I swear my beard looks less scraggy in person..a little anyway.

That is probably enough out of me, how are you?