Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
at the Anglican Parish of the Otways
Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
THE Gospel scene this morning depicts an angry Jesus with a whip in his hand.
This image of Jesus doesn’t sit well with our romanticised image of gentle Jesus, meek and mild.
It seems so out of character with what we know of Jesus
from the rest of the Gospels.
Jesus at the Temple
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
The beauty of this passage is it shows us another side
of Jesus character,
one that could not only be kind, loving gentle
but very strong and very assertive when the need arose.
Still, it comes as a bit of a shock to see Jesus not only angry
and see him resort to what looks like
a shocking act of violence.
I think that why it is so shocking to us
is that we have all grown up thinking that anger is wrong,
that it is sinful,
but anger is just a feeling
and as such is neither good nor bad morally.
The problems can begin in how we react to our anger.
Anger can be very dangerous when it results
in us saying and doing things that cause harm to others,
physically or emotionally,
and we can often be left regretting something we
have done hastily when angry.
But anger can be a good thing.
It can spur us to put something right that is
blatantly wrong, to fight against injustice,
to resist violence, stand against oppression,
and to stand in solidarity with the marginalised.
There are times when we ought to be angry,
but I think there are a lot of times we get angry
when we shouldn’t.
It is important for us to look at what makes us angry.
It is said that you can measure a person’s soul
by the size of the things that make them angry.
Do you get angry over petty things,
over issues of self-interest?
It is amazing how worked up people get
when their own interests are threatened,
however marginally, but how few get worked up
when it’s their neighbour’s interests that are threatened.
Jesus didn’t get angry on his own account.
His anger resulted from his love of God and of his neighbour.
His action in the temple has been seen by many
as a protest against the commercialism of religion
and the desecration of the temple.
But it went much deeper than that.
Firstly he was protesting that Israel had failed
to fulfill her universal mission to humanity.
Religion had become narrow, nationalistic, and exclusive.
Secondly he was attacking the very nature of Jewish worship.
Its ritual and animal sacrifices were becoming
irrelevant and was doing nothing to bring people to God.
Worship demands a lot more of us
than the offering of things to God
and the performance of certain rituals.
What God wants above all is the worship of our lives.
What we do here is important.
Our worship of God should be heartfelt and sincere,
bring us joy and promote unity.
It should encourage us to stand in solidarity
with the poor and needy challenge violence, injustice
and oppression, and work for peace and reconciliation.
It should always be inclusive.
We are not a club, but a group of loving individuals
with a mission to all people, even the difficult ones.
And what we do here should give us the impetus to
examine our lives,
to repent of those areas of our lives
that are not consistent with the ways of God,
and to continue our worship of God in our lives
when we walk out those doors.
The Lord Be with You!
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.