Readings for Third Sunday in Lent, 3/8/15: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, John 2:13-22
The Ten Commandments - all the rage in the last couple years with courtroom battles. People have spent a lot of energy defending these commandments. Are they worth defending? Do we follow as well as defend? While I don't feel they need to be posted in our courtrooms, I think they are still pretty important for us.
The ones I am most drawn to are the first commandments. God is God and our only God. We might not worship other deities, but sometimes we're in danger of worshipping our possessions, our work, our culture, or our country. We may not make golden calf idols, but we idolize plenty of things, don't we?
"Remember the Sabbath." This is so hard for me. We're recently started a twice-weekly prayer chapel at our church - 30 minutes to be still and be with God. I find even that hard. My mind is always racing over my to-do list. How do you keep Sabbath?
Coveting - that's another commandment that I think is so important. We always want what we don't have, no matter how much we do have. How do we live a life of gratitude?
"The heavens are telling the glory of God." These famous words from the Psalm are often set to music.
This imagery of the sun "like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy", this personification of the sun draws to my mind Greek/Roman mythology, and no doubt made contemporaries of the psalmist think of similar images of sun-gods in other religions. The difference? Here the sun is put into place by God, not a god in itself.
God is more than gold, sweeter than honey. A simple message - but reminds us of things we put too often before God in our lives.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations..." This verse is often used by pastors before they begin preaching. I like it, but if there's a way to use a Bible verse too much to the point of over doing, this one makes it on my personal list!
1 Corinthians 1:18-25:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing..." I don't know what to make of this verse, because I too often see it used as a "Jesus is the only way, see?" tool. But let's revamp it. An instrument of weakness is made into an instrument of power. That is what God does to things. Gives them a whole new life, and a whole new meaning.
That theme carries into the whole passage - God doesn't just change meanings of things around, but meanings of people. We're flipped inside out by this 'foolishness' of Jesus Christ.
Compare this passage with the value of Wisdom we see in Proverbs. I think Paul is discounting being worldly-wise instead of God-wise. Better a fool for God than wise for the world?
"my Father's house a marketplace." Maybe we don't have malls in our churches (maybe!), but how do we take the holy out of our holy places? Churches often play dangerous games with marketing and commercialism. Where do we draw lines?
"he drove all of them out" - this is one of few times we see Jesus so confrontational. When in your faith are you moved to be confrontational? What is worth making a scene?
In verse 21, John gives his take on Jesus' words in verse 19. What would you think Jesus meant?