My homily preached at All Saints Church, Taylorsville, KY on the weekend of March 8th and 9th, 2014.
At the beginning of Fall, we all wonder what the coming winter will be like. People are asking what color and size are the wooly worms? What shape are the persimmon seeds?
There's a story about some Indians who asked their Chief early in the Fall, if the winter was going to be cold or not.
Not really knowing the answer,the chief replied that the winter was going to be cold and that the members of the village were to collect wood...to be prepared.
Being a good leader, the Cheif then went to the nearest phone booth and called the National Weather Service
He asked, "Is this winter going to be cold?" The man on the phone responded, "This winter's going to be quite cold indeed."
So the Chief went back to speed up his people,telling them to collect even more wood...to be prepared
A week later he called the National Weather Service again, "Is it going to be a very cold winter?" "Yes," the man replied, "its going to be a very cold winter."
So the Chief goes back to his people and orders them to go and find every scrap of wood they can find. We must be prepared
Two weeks later he callsthe National Weather Service again and asks "Are you absolutely sure, that the winter is going to be very cold?" "Absolutely" the man replies, "the Indians are collecting wood like crazy!".......
The unexpected gives us something to talk about. Did you hear what the Farmer's Almanac said
about the weather this year? or "You'll never guess what so-and-so did."
We like the unexpected sometimes, Life would get pretty boring if you always knew what was going to happen next. The unexpected is what keeps sports fans watching games. The unexpected is what makes jokes funny.
And yet we crave stability. For the most part we live like we expect things to be the same today
as they were yesterday. We expect to wake up tomorrow morning just like we did today.
When bad things happen and life changes for the worse, we long for the good old days because we believe things were more predictable back then.
We believe life should make sense and So should God. And that is where today's Gospel text comes in.
None of those people in the Temple expected the chaos of that day. They expected everything to go on
as it always had every Passover before.
What's so wrong with merchants changing money and selling livestock for Temple sacrifices. They've always done it that way...as long as they could remember. They never expected that some guy from out of town
named Jesus would storm in drive out the merchants and livestock like a bunch of evil spirits...
That had never happened before. Here's where things start hitting us. Because when Jesus drives the merchants out of the Temple, He does more than upset their tables. Jesus might upset us a bit too. This doesn't fit the type of Jesus most people like to hear about or talk about.
More than one person's thought this story doesn't belong in the Bible at all. A few wonder if Jesus looked back on this incident and regretted doing it - as if the sinless Son of God had let His temper rage out of control like you and I do.
Yes, the Lord is angry in this text. And it is a righteous and holy anger. Zeal for God's house consumes Jesus.
But, most of us would want to go back a few verses in John's gospel and hear about the gentle and kind Jesus who obeys his mother and makes water into a really great wine for a wedding reception.
Or move ahead further, where Jesus talks about birth into the Kingdom of God through Water and the Spirit.
That would be more like the Jesus that we expect.
Yet today we find...There are two sides of the same Jesus who will be destroyed on the Cross for you and I - and more than that, raised to new life for us.
In Galatians, St. Paul tells us something that we could never expect, "Christ redeemed us...by becoming a curse for us. "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.
Our human minds tell us, "Do your best to walk the straight and narrow,and God will be pleased with you.
Otherwise, lookout. You do the crime, you do the time." But, in Corinthians we hear "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength"
Who among us has the strength to pay back to God what we owe Him?...And who would ever guessed
that God would love us so much that He would send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to become weak,
and even become a curse to save us. We deserved God's rath as the money-changers and those selling
the oxen, sheep, and doves in today's gospel did.
Yet, in our place, Jesus hung on the Tree. He carried all our sins in the Temple of His body to the Cross.
The Son of God was destroyed so that you and I would be rescued from destruction and we could be called children of God.
Like children, we don't understand everything while it's happening until we reach maturity. We seldom understand unexpected events at the time they occur.
The disciples didn't understand all that Jesus said and did on that day in the Temple, either. That understanding only came with maturity - as John tells us today "
When Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
Lord grant that WE ALL WOULD REACH to full maturity in the knowledge of the Son of God, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen.