It’s holy Monday.
Today we see Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. Today we see the passionate Jesus, the angry Christ, the emotive Light of the World. Today we see Jesus getting his hands dirty, weaving rope together to form a whip that the Good Shepard wields in righteous, holy love. Today we see the zeal of the Son for his Father’s house of prayer.
This cleansing drove out the corrupt vendors and money changers, people that preyed upon travelers coming to the temple. It also made space for the gentiles.
All these tables of buying and selling greed were set up in the outer court of the temple, the place were gentiles could enter in and pray. This was the place in the temple for the outsiders, for those who were not part of the people of God, but still wanted to be God’s people. This outer court was proof that God wanted his temple to be truly a house of prayer for ALL nations, not just for the Jewish people.
Jesus, upon seeing the desecration and corruption set up on the tables of the sellers who gouged prices and the money changers who took a little extra for their pockets, takes matters into his own hands. Sometimes Jesus needs to drive out the corruption himself because we have failed to do it in his name.
But more than just driving out the money changers, Jesus made room.
He made space, wide open, clear space. Where there was once tables of corruption, there is now space for the broken, for the lame, for the bind. Jesus made room for the outcasts to come to him in the temple. He made room for the gentiles to come and offer their prayers to the Father. He made space cleared of nationalism and bigotry so that all people, ALL people, could come to him and the Father.
Are we doing the same?
Who are the gentiles in our life, the people we think are far from God? Who are the blind, the lame, the broken? Who are the margins in our lives that we are not making space for in our hearts?
This is a tough question, but it is a cleansing question. This is where we can ask Jesus to come and overturn the tables of our hearts and make space in our souls for the marginalized people who God wants to invite into a conversation (prayer) with him.
The sexually abused.
The physically deformed.
Those hurt by racism.
Those injured by sexism.
The LGBTQ community.
These are the people that I need Jesus to make room for in my heart. These are the people that Jesus want’s to come to him, but too often our corruption, greed, and religious show keep away from the house of prayer. These are the people that too often my apathy keeps them far from God, far from me.
In our days, gentiles are more than just non-believers. They are the people that we decide are far from God. They are the people we have passed judgment upon and pushed to the margins. They are the people that we call “them”. They are the others. They are the people who Jesus will show up for and call to his lap.
What room are we making for gentiles in our churches, in our lives?
Maybe we need the Lord of Love to come with his whip and overturn the tables in our communities, in our hearts, and make space where he will call the gentiles, the broken, the blind, the marginalized to come in. Maybe we need to confess the den of robbers that we have turned our spirituality and churches into that they may become a house of prayer for ALL.