Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Not so Nice Jesus

Today's Link
Wildflower Thinking

Today's Saying
Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but live for it. ~C.C. Colton

Today's Picture
(Peter, my mom, & Betty at United's Anniversary)

Today is celebrated as the third Sunday in Lent in the liturgical churches. The gospel from the common lectionary is John 2:13-22. In this gospel we meet the not so nice Jesus.

We all, of course, know the nice sweet Jesus. The one that never gets upset by what we do. The one who just smiles all the time and pours out pails of gooey love. We like that Jesus. We might even follow him a little way down the dark Lenten road. Why not? He’s so nice.

But the Jesus in today’s gospel is not so nice. He is kicking over tables. He is spilling money. He is chasing people and animals out of the temple. You don’t want to upset this Jesus.
And what had they done to upset him. They were nice people. They were religious people. They provided a religious service so that people could make sacrifices to God. Part of what they made went to help maintain the temple and its staff. What could be better than that. They weren’t prostitutes or adulterers. They didn’t use God’s name in vain. They didn’t murder or steal. But here was this “nice” Jesus driving them out of God’s house.
This text always makes me nervous because it’s directed not at the “ bad” guys but at Church members.. It is directed at those who would misuse the faith.

Who are the people with the tables in the temple today?
Politicians who use the faith to get votes but have no Christian compassion at all.
Evangelists who drain the last penny from little old ladies while they live in mansions.
Pastors who are more concerned with finances than service.
Members who use the church to enhance their social standing.
Those who make people feel unwelcome in a congregation because they are different.
And many many more.

Like the Pharisees in the temple they all feel that they are good people, better than most. But the not so nice Jesus of today’s gospel may not see things that way.
For this is the same God who through the prophet Amos said;
” 21I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 23Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24But let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream."
Jesus wants us to feed the poor, care for the sick, visit the prisons, and take care of the needs of people. Then we are religious and not table keepers.
Like I told you the text scares me.
News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Last Lutheran was full at both services today. It almost looked like Christmas or Easter. People came to thank God for a wonderful week and people came to pray that whatever was happening wouldn’t end.
Pastor Joan preached on the Christ who kicks over our religious tables so we can start again but it is doubtful they really heard what she was saying. In any case they certainly didn’t want any tables kicked over this week. Tammy and Tommy UK were acolytes but they were so happy looking at each other they didn’t hear much. It was not a great day for the preacher.
After the service the youth group met an put little purple dragons on key chains . They hoped to sell these tomorrow on St. Urho’s Day to raise money for a trip to the big youth gathering in the summer. One of the kids asked if they thought that the pastor’s sermon had to do with their dragon selling. The answer was that it couldn’t because their table was not in the church but on the street.
Wrap UP
It was a great day. The snow is melting. My son and grandsons joined us in Church. The Lutheran Social Services man gave the message about serving Jesus. Having served on the Lutheran Social Services Board that brought back memories. At the felowship time I reminded people that tomorrow is St. Urho's Day. In the afternoon when my grandsons gave me some time I put all of today's pictures on the St. Mark's website. Then Alex and I played Betty and Pennie in canasta and we won. I only got one blog visited but I promise to catch up tomorrow. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Akelamalu said...

Unfortunately not much has changed since Jesus kicked up a stink in the temple has it Dr. John? :(

4:05 AM  
Blogger Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I love this story!! My dear father was a preacher-man until his death in 1976 and this is a story he often told.....the one of the "not so nice Jesus".
Thanks for bringing back a beautiful memory for me Dr. John :0

Steady On
Reggie Girl

4:50 AM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I like this story.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

I've never seen that picture before.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

THe picture from yesterday is hilarious!!!

5:45 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I like all of your posts, Dr. John, but your Sunday ones are the best!

5:54 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

Since I am home from church today, I am REALLY appreciating you little sermon... even if it scares me too. Sometimes I feel like such a Pharisee... Good stuff to think on Pastor.

Perhaps Pastor Joan's sermon did more good than she thought... it's got people thinkin' anyway...

6:30 AM  
Blogger loisontheweb said...

"People who misuse Jesus" ... that has also been one of my pet peeves.
Jesus Christ ... it is right that he want the religion named for him to be best ...

6:45 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Nice pick for link of the day.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I actually like this Jesus, for He gets angry at the same sort of things that I do. We were called today to kick over some personal tables in our lives and to free up some time, inhibitions and insecurities about our callings, ideas or thoughts. I'm almost there - been working at this calling for a few months now and God is putting things in place!

Hey Dr. John - why no facebook yet? :)

11:05 AM  
Blogger Jientje said...

Today's saying is so true!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Nessa said...

It's just way too hard to actually live by what we believe.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

It should scare all of us who call ourselves Christian.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post today. I stayed home from church, sick (I'm the pharisee who thought so much of herself that she didn't want to infect the other parishioners).
Jesus finds us wherever we are: in the church or up the street (or home in bed hacking up a lung)... and for this, I am grateful. I wouldn't want to be left alone in my self-centered state of sIn.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a religious person, but I can still understand why Jesus couldn't be nice all the time. I think there is a "kicking over tables" time that we all reach if we are being true to ourselves. ~Mary

3:09 PM  
Blogger david mcmahon said...

I clearly remember my mother explaining that passage of the Bible to me.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

I like that not so nice Jesus, as long as he doesn't have to be around all the time. Helps us to keep things in perspective. Sometimes we're not even aware that we're doing it until we get the wake-up call. It's all about Him. Looking forward to tomorrow. Have a feeling that I'm going to learn something new about a fellow named St. Urho. :)

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:52 AM  
Blogger ruru said...


1:38 AM  

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