Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


There is a difference between leveling a house and gutting it. Cleaning out a cupboard: Is this synonymous with me saying that food has no value? When you plug in the purifier, do you intend to replace air altogether with something better?

I doubt it.

So doubt the narrative that pits the temple against the church. Doubt the story that says “the Jews” are to blame. Doubt that this mention of tearing down the temple in three days means something apart from the question to which Jesus is responding (v.18). Doubt that the temple is the only house of the Lord that God enters and spots a tragic gap between what is supposed to be and what is.

Trust that Jesus cleansed it; and that what Jesus cleansed, he counted worthy of cleansing.

Trust that Jesus knows what he’s talking about when he says that we are blind— and blind to our blindness; lest we get to thinking that we have accurately selfdiagnosed (Jn 9, Matt 13). Trust that the way to receiving God’s gifts necessitates continual recovery of sight, which is the work of the Spirit and by grace.

Show up to the texts such that you can be the one to point out that Jesus and his disciples are temple participants (Jn 2,4,5,7,8,10,18). Really listen for the Word when passages are read so that you might be led into the deeper dimensions. Remember that God has been trying to dwell in our midst for eons, and that the tendency to en-structure God and improperly use sacred space is in no way unique to 1st century Jerusalem.

Doubt. Trust. Show up. Really listen. Remember. Because beyond ‘this temple’ there are all sorts of things that have happened, or are happening, that cannot be boiled down to a quick and certain synopsis. Attempts to do so reinforce spiritual blindness.

When others take their jabs at that which we hold dear, we long for them to see the nuances; how, it’s just not that simple. So let us not expect what we withhold. Maybe John 2 is as good a place to start as any when it comes to more carefully reading. And maybe Lent is when Jesus knocks, wanting to overturn a few more tables (v.15). If so, let him in. For we too must be worthy~