March 6

John 2:12-17

“Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” vs. 15

According to the gospel of John Jesus took his family and disciples to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover toward the beginning of his ministry. When he came to the temple for worship he was outraged. The whole outer courtyard had the atmosphere of a country fair. There were cattle and sheep for sale, and money-changers had their tables set up to serve the pilgrims seeking to change their Roman coins into image-free ones that could be used for the temple offering. Jesus considered the whole show to be a sacrilege and chased everyone out. It’s a reminder of how easy it is for the purity of worship to be subverted by the ways of the world. In our time, every congregation is a corporation and has business obligations to the state and its membership. Always there is a concern for proper accounting and for operating within budgetary limitations. But sometimes things get out of hand, and making money can become a congregation’s primary mission. Our purpose as the people of God in this world is not to stay in the black but to go with the gospel and spread the good news of God’s unconditional love and grace. When that mission is undermined, from Jesus’ perspective, we might as well shut the doors!

Thought for the Day: How can a congregation’s mission get side-tracked?

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