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Jesus Challenging the Temple Institution | Mark 11:12-19
In this past year we’ve all had to pay a heavy price. The very things that make us human – physical touch, social contact, relational connection – were the cost of keeping each other safe. We’ve given up a lot to love our neighbor. And we’ve lived in the stress of a false binary choice around it all. We’ve been told that either we believe in science and so socially isolated; or that we were willing to kill other people to get what we wanted. Our choices were often painted in unhelpful black or white ways. This over-simplified binary stopped us from being honest about the hardness of social isolation – the cost on our bodies, minds, and spirits – and also upon our relationships, families & communities. We all paid a heavy price.
Jesus returns to the Temple – the scene of the Triumphal Entry – and notices a fig tree without fruit during the growing season which echoes the barrenness of the Temple. He cleans out the Temple, condemning the leaders for cheapening this holy place, reducing it to a commercial center, charging admission, and forgetting the deepest needs we all have – – connection with God, and connection with each other. Sacrifice – why money was changed in the first place – was the ritual for experiencing and embodying connection and re-connection with God.
From whom have you been cut off this year? What relationships, people, connections do you grieve and mourn? What relationships do you now realize that you maybe took for granted? Talk to God about how you want to be cleansed and healed to move from barrenness to fruitfulness.