upset my money tables
Trust Jesus to upset any system whereby I think that I can provide myself with my daily bread with no thought to him and his agenda.
We are to be people of prayer – relationship with him, but we spend our time fretting about the gifts he has given us, rather than spending our time with him, the giver of life and all good gifts.
I noticed that in this section some people were getting upset at the wonderful things that he [Jesus] did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Matthew 28:15 ESV
And Jesus entered the temple
and drove out all
who sold and bought in the temple,
and he overturned the tables
of the money-changers
and the seats
of those who sold pigeons.
He said to them,
“It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’
but you make it a den of robbers.”
And the blind and the lame
came to him in the temple,
and he healed them.
But when the chief priests and the scribes
saw the wonderful things that he did,
and the children crying out in the temple,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
they were indignant,
and they said to him,
“Do you hear what these are saying?”
And Jesus said to them,
“Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants
and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem
Here I am Lord, sitting before you, cleverly trying to read or think or write some right things without even noticing that you are here.
Is that wise? Is it sin?
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem. They didn’t recognize what would bring peace; you were there with them.
Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see how you are with us.
English Standard Version (ESV)
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Good enough lent
A week or so ago I wrote a little on The good Lent and failing at lenten observance. I like the piece that Alastair Sterne of St. Peter’s Fireside has written about giving up Lent for Lent.
Alastair writes that in lent we may be feeding
a desire to be able to lay something before God and say “Look, I did it. I have it within myself. I’m worthy.” We don’t want to bumble our way through Lent depending on grace. We want to strong-arm our way towards self-congratulation.
In Lent, as in all of christian life, we walk in a delicate balance between discipline and the tendency towards legalism, between works and grace. As the Duo Salmond and Mulder sang: “We’re all stumbling heavenward we’re flying like a crippled dove”. May God bless us all in our efforts, and through his unmerited favour.
Jesus be in all
Doing the right things for life and godliness takes lots of time. Invitations often fall prey to routine responsibilities and shoulds.
Following Jesus, I listen and choose to follow his way.
Worship, work, exercise, chores; Jesus be in all.
moving day, comfy chair and grief
My parents-in-law are moving into a retirement home today. One of the challenges for them is to chose carefully what items to take with them to the new place. They are moving from a full-sized house, and the challenge could be overwhelming.
If I could only take one thing with me to a new home, what would I take? perhaps I would just refuse to go, like Granny of the Beverley Hillbillies…
My Mother in law is thinking of choosing a comfy chair. That makes sense, having a good place to sit and read, and think and remember…
This reminded me of something by Mike Mason:
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Do you have a favorite chair, a place where you feel most at home and comfortable? So does joy. Joy’s favorite chair is your sadness, your weakness, your grief. Wherever your wounds are most tender, joy finds a soft place to settle. A lighthearted person may rejoice, but no one has greater capacity for joy than one who is, like our Saviour, “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). Joy loves our brokenness best.
in Lent, it can be helpful to connect with our hurting places and examine them with the Man of Sorrows. He is acquainted with grief.
Hope – you are a mist
I woke up this morning thinking about the futility of life.
In a group of men meeting at the church, last night, out of about ten, approximately all of us were dealing with serious, major or life-changing events in our close families:
death of parent / parent-in law, terminal illness, serious cancer, mental health challenges, Alzheimer’s, alienation from family member
I cycled through Mountain View Cemetery (in the City of Vancouver,) this week and remembered how quickly even stone monuments crumble. (These pictures were taken a few years ago) A turn through the cemetery is a good memento mori. When I am gone, how much will the earth remember me?
This week, I feel that James has much to tell me about life:
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Where is the hope in “you are a mist”? I was thinking – what remains once the mist has vanished? We get foggy days, here on the coast. The mist obscures everything so that you could easily lose your way, and hardly find your hand in front of your face. When the mist burns off with the warmth of the sun, you can see your path, the mountains the sky, the sun.
What we see of life seems so very real, and it is, but let us never forget that this life is not the final reality. The mist clears someday. Then we will see God face to face.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
when faith needs to go beyond me getting my own way
Faith in Jesus is easiest when I can see that miracles are happening; Lazarus being raised, walking on water, lepers being cleansed – when I see God’s hand moving and rescuing people near me. Then it is easy to say “it is well with my soul.”
When Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem, where people want him dead, when he chooses the path of suffering, when a friend’s cancer returns with vengeance, when I remember that young people die and mental illness abounds – that is when I need deep strong faith that goes immeasurably beyond me getting my own way.
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
What part of “and he will be raised on the third day” do I not understand?
If only Jesus would speak clearly and directly to me, then I would understand. Oh really?
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
Jesus clearly stated his agenda, and still they didn’t comprehend.
What part of “and he will be raised on the third day.” did I miss?
I hear what I am ready and able to hear. Later on I might be able to hear and remember: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6
“No returns” policy / Vendor remorse
Judas, when he saw that Jesus was condemned – changed his mind – repented of betraying innocent blood, but was unable to undo the evil in which he had participated.
Was his sin that he had “betrayed innocent blood” or more like our sin: rejecting the way of the Messiah – thinking ourselves wiser than God and taking things into our hands?
Judas responds with despair.
God grant us hope, and true repentence.
Matthew 27:3-4 (ESV)
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”