Turning Tables


READ: Matthew 21: 12-17


“Rise up shepherd, rise up

Your flock has roamed far from the hills

The stars have faded, the sky is still

The angels are shouting "Glory Hallelujah"

We've been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground

We've been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground

Forty days and nights of rain have washed this land

Jesus said the money changers in this temple will not stand

Find your flock, get them to higher ground

Flood waters rising and the kingdom's on fire”

-     From Rocky Ground by Bruce Springtseen


I loved Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball. It was a prophet’s blast at the consequences that unaccountable capitalism had brought on the ordinary person.

Song after song deals with the fall out of the Bankers and those who worshipped the bottom line of profit, gambling in greed for more and more, brought many people to their knees while the perpetrators continued to milk big fat bonuses.

The rich getting richer sticks in the throat whatever century or generation. I wasn't surprised that Springsteen, who has become more and more spiritual in his writing, saw a parallel with Jesus in the Temple, overturning the moneychangers who were cheating the common people for their own greed and profit. 

I draw our attention to this song on Easter Week as it was one of the things that Matthew records Jesus doing after he had ridden into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.

That revolutionary symbolism of the humility that Jesus was declaring as his way to reign is suddenly juxtaposed by Jesus most angry and, dare we say, violent act.

Righteous anger is how we have come to see it. Whatever the humility of the donkey image means it does not mean “meek and mild” when faced with injustice and the oppression of the common person by the wealthy money grabbers. 

How we respond to this contemporary issue is an Easter week issue but as I have meditated on this scene in the Temple this week I have looked into my own soul and asked, “what are the tables of idolatry in my own life?”

Jesus grace caresses and collides with my life. The Jesus who loves me as I am is at the very centre of the events ahead this week. Yet, Jesus collides with my own selfishness too.

Where would Jesus want to turn things over in my Temple of his presence? Where am I living for me at the cost of others? Where would his righteous anger burn? What rocky ground do I need to get dragged away from? Going back to Springsteen's song, what higher ground do I need the shepherd to lead me to?