It is remarkable to watch the controlled imploding of a building. It generally takes great experience, weeks of planning, days of securing mountains of permits, hours of installing and re-checking the precision of just a few seconds of destruction.
I don’t know about you, but it is difficult for me not to replay the images of the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001 when I picture the great building collapsing. So it would have been un-imaginable to have heard Jesus’ request to the religious leaders to call for the Temple, the holy dwelling place, to be destroyed. And on the other hand, in the same breath, to claim that Jesus could rebuild what had taken generations to build King Herod’s building project. And most especially to rebuild in three days.
As people of the Resurrection, people who know the Easter story and know Jesus living in our hearts, it is easy for us to say: “Sure, He was talking about something spiritual.” Or, “We know Jesus could do it, he is the Messiah, he is the Son, He is Lord of heaven and hearth.” “God speaks and out of chaos comes order and creation.”
But it would do us well to hear the perspective of those who were thinking of the building: the stones, the heritage and the structure. It is amazing to see the size of the stones at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The lower courses are the foundation of the original temple built during King Solomon’s reign,
Yes the pyramids and Babylon Gardens and the Alexandrian Light House or Greek temples were unbelievable building projects, but to see the stones and feel their mass of the Temple Wall….it appear impossible to think the foundations couple be leveled. And yet, in the the life time of some of those who heard Jesus speak these very words, lived to see the temple destroyed and leveled.
Jesus not only tells of his personal work, as we are the body of Christ, raised from and saved from death, it is our work to rebuild, to re-construct the spiritual temple of which Jesus gives witness.
How many generations and decades and lives have been devoted to building cathedrals, temples, and palaces that point to places of authority and power.
The Mall in Washington, DC is a magnificent microcosm of colossal structures in our time and in our nation. These monuments are tributes and places for the people to rally, remember and raise up the nations pride and call.
This very sanctuary has been designed, built, purchase, maintained and used by generations of faith witness for this community. What if someone claimed were to tear it down and rebuild it. (I’m sure that on some level the Trustees might consider this a plausible thought when trying to maintain and provide for the current and future needs) While the building helps us have a place to gather for fellowship, worship, study, service and giving… this building is not our true home.
Just as the early tents, are not our home. Frail and fragile, hungry and different, sometimes awkward and other times graceful… our home is eternal in God, through Christ, as we are people of the Spirit.
That brings us back to the text: This building is not our faith. These bodies are not our strength. Our body is Christ’s body and we are the structure giving witness to the world….
Which brings us to the drama of the passage from John’s Gospel: The cleansing of the temple. Some is a physcal washing, moving our and tearing down…FOR the PURPOSE of RESTORING
Some is a cleaning of the space between our temples: our minds… Remember this our God’s dwelling place, in us, in our body, in our witness, in our words and actions, in our forgiveness and grace.
The Reclaiming, cleansing work to Restore LIfe back into relationship with God.
This why we have a body
This is why we have this life.
Not just for ourselves, but also for Christ to continue to be present in the world, building of the whole people.
If you see or hear, profanity, clean it up
If you see or hear injustice, clean it out
If you are plagues with worry, guild, gossip, greed or fear… let it go
If you are trying to buy your way through something that is freely given.. start over.
One of the movies that I can pretty much quote every line through out the file is the BLUES BROTHERS,
There is a moment where the blues review band stops to play Bob’s country music palace and the character, Jake asks what kind of music the customers like, the Co-Owner replies: “Both kind, County and Western.” To which the finally connect with the audience when the band places, “Rawhide” TV theme song, complete with a snapping whip.
Jesus, connects with us, even it take drive out and cleaning out the mess that we make worship and church.
This scene calls us to claim the work of RECONSTRUCTION and build up the body of Christ.
God make room for the Work God is about to do, the harvest that is coming and the life that is about to be set free.
Praise the Lord.