Sunday Sermon: Reclaiming Sacred Space

28576002_2145813312127435_4658738701079491812_nHave you heard the story of when Jesus tears up the temple? It’s a bit of favourite of mine as it reminds me that Jesus was human too. Jesus got frustrated and angry. It also confirms my leaning towards taking part in direct action protests.

As we journey towards Easter this story pops up today. This evening Church in Progress gathered at the Otahuhu Food Court. Once a month the food court graciously puts up with us making lots of noise, we laugh, we eat (a lot), we talk, often there are a few tears as we share the hard stuff we deal with and we also pray.

We pray out loud about stuff that matters. First, I go around the table and ask people what is on their hearts. It’s stuff that we know God already knows – but there’s something in the sharing and in the listening. It’s healing. It helps us to celebrate too. God knows but now others know too. We ask that God will nudge us if we need to take action. We pray with our eyes open (mostly), half way through we might laugh, or cry or have a round of applause as we acknowledge the good things that are happening in our lives. If I’m honest, it’s a rollercoaster of emotion … and I love it!

Here’s the link I’ve made between the story of Jesus tearing up the temple and with Church in Progress praying at the food court …

  • Jesus took direct action (read the story below) and reminded people that the temple was a sacred space. At that time, the temple was seen as a special place where people were enabled by the priests to reconnect with God.
  • Jesus wants us to have a more ‘direct line’ to God. By praying in the food court (or any public space), we remind ourselves that God is already everywhere. How fortunate are we that we can reconnect with Divine in any space?

This week I’m going to make an effort to see and connect with God in unlikely places. I might struggle in a traffic jam or when I’m doing the dishes … but I am hopeful!

Where will you meet God this week?

John 2:13-25 The Message (MSG)

Tear Down This Temple . . .

When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.”

They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

During the time he was in Jerusalem, those days of the Passover Feast, many people noticed the signs he was displaying and, seeing they pointed straight to God, entrusted their lives to him. But Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them.

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