This year as we move through this dark and wonderful week, we are going to remember the events of Jesus’ last week and try to place ourselves there with Him. We’ll use the Sonnets of Malcolm Guite (Sounding the Seasons from Canterbury Press) to encourage our reflection.
Jesus Preaches in the Temple by Douglas Blanchard
Today’s Bible reading
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”
But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight. — Matthew 21:12-17
More thoughts for meditation
Cleansing the Temple
Come to your Temple here with liberation
And overturn these tables of exchange,
Restore in me my lost imagination,
Begin in me for good the pure change.
Come as you came, an infant with your mother,
That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground.
Come as you came, a boy who sought his father
With questions asked and certain answers found.
Come as you came this day, a man in anger,
Unleashed the lash that drives a pathway through,
Face down for me the fear, the shame, the danger,
Teach me again to whom my love is due.
Break down in me the barricades of death
And tear the veil in two with your last breath.
Suggestions for action:
This week as we are quarantined across our church, we’d like to embody our meditation by having each of us do some physical activities to respond to the scripture and sonnets. Our hope is to help each of us recollect how Jesus is with us throughout our day. We will gather online each evening, but before that time here are some suggestions:
Find a flat surface in your home that you can free from other objects. It could be an end table, coffee table, window sill, etc. It’s best if this is in a central place that you will pass by throughout your daily activity. Placing a candle on it as a reminder that the Light of the World is with you is a good first step. Each day this guide will suggest that you find an object to place on this small sacred spot you’re creating that represents the movement of the day.
Today we’re focused on Jesus and his anger at the oppressive, corrupt system that misinformed people about how they could approach God. He turned over the tables! So find something that symbolizes that for you. Scattered coins, old protest buttons/stickers, etc. Let your imagination be free. Place the item on your sacred space and pray this prayer with all of us:
Dear One – You made a pathway through corruption in the Temple and You tore away all separation between us and Yourself. Give us the courage to believe in all You’ve already done and live lives of freedom, rejoicing in Your closeness today and loving You with abandon.
Breath Prayer: (Inhale): Face down for me the fear. (Exhale): My love is for You.
Set your phone to ring today at 3 hour intervals. Traditional hours of prayers in monasteries would be 9am, 12pm, 3pm and lastly Vespers which we will set at 9pm this week. Tonight we hope you will join us online for Vespers at 9pm. When your phone rings at the hours today (or you just remember!) stop for a few moments at your sacred space and repeat the Breath Prayer for the day. You could take several minutes in this pause or if it’s a busy time for you, just stop for a moment or so to draw your mind and heart consciously into God’s presence with you.
In times of stress like we are all experience during the pandemic, we need to attend to our minds, spirits and our bodies with care. Sleep is particularly important for our bodies to combat the impacts of stress so be gentle with yourself and don’t neglect your need for sleep; however, we also need to turn our attention very consciously toward the positive. These interludes in your day are designed to offer help in this practice of attunement with God. Find a rhythm that works for you and adjust the hours as needed.⁹
You might want to show us your prayer object on social media. That could help us be together in this rhythm. If you do use #sacredspot2020