Lent 3

John 2.13-22

A Mothers’ tale
I was so looking forward to today. We’d been planning it even before our baby Asher was born. His name means ‘happy’ and ‘blessed’ but after today, I’m not so sure that’s how his naming ceremony will be remembered. I mean, well, it all started out according to plan. Our whole family had travelled with us. I was so happy…there was a feeling of real celebration in the air. Well, there would be, wouldn’t there? Asher was our first-born after all…and a son. I was so proud.

Anyway, we got here in plenty of time. And what a time…with Passover practically upon us, the temple was packed. We’d been saving up for ages and like I said, I was so proud. We weren’t going for the pigeons, no…we were going to splash out on a lamb. Our Asher was a massive blessing to us all and definitely worth a bigger sacrifice than just a bird.

My husband Ezra had been queuing for what seemed like ages to get the money changed. The place was buzzing and everybody seemed really happy; a real holiday atmosphere.

I noticed him first of all, you know…the man who started it all…when he walked past. Couldn’t help it really. Everyone was relaxed and having a good time but he was on a mission. At first I thought he knew somebody at the front of the queue ‘cos he was marching on to the front.

But then I noticed that he was carrying a sort of home-made whip and he was straight in there, shouting at the top of his voice. Something about them being robbers and being in his Dad’s house. He really lost it and to tell the truth I was a bit scared and Ezra came dashing over to move me and our Asher to a safer place. He even lost his place in the queue.

I’m not sure what happened next but when the noise had died down and the shouting and the screaming stopped, we made our way back and I couldn’t believe the devastation. The tables and chairs were broken and all over the place and the animals…well, we couldn’t buy a sheep now…not even a dove.

Ruined our day it did. Well, we’ll just have to come back tomorrow and try again. Some things just have to be done properly.

The protest of a Money Changer
Another day, another shekel! At least with Passover, it would be a good day and to start with, it was… the place was packed!

You see, to pay for anything in this place, you needed temple currency. It’s easy money. And what do people know about currency rates? It means nothing to them. What amazes me is that they are always so grateful, even if they are paying over the odds for everything.

Being a holiday time, everyone is always that little bit happier and I must admit, it makes the day go faster. Today was different though and one I won’t forget for a long time. We all set up our stalls as normal and things were going fine. That was until that man appeared with his gang.

First I knew that anything was wrong was when a table fell over and someone started shouting. Well…I say shouting! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This mad man was going berserk! He was whipping everything in sight and calling us names, US…just going about our normal business. He didn’t even care that the animals were escaping and running around and causing havoc. Oh no!

And not only that but the money was all over the floor and people were suddenly scurrying on hands and knees and stealing it…STEALING IT…our hard-earned money. The man was a nutter…should be locked up. So much for me making a killing at my table today!

A Disciple’s Delight
There was an air of excitement about the place. But being with Jesus was never dull. He had this presence about him that demanded attention, you only have to see the crowds that follow us around to know that. Can’t blame them really, you just never know what he’s going to do next. When he talks, you just have to listen.

Me and my mates, well…we just sit at his feet when he tells us some of his stories. He goes on about his Father, like he’s God or something. And I’ll tell you what…I could well believe it. He’s never wrong and we’ve witnessed all sorts of things that you just wouldn’t believe.

You’ll never guess what he did today? He gave them money changers ‘what for’ – robbing us poor folk for years, they have! Made a fortune out of us. You never see a poor money-changer. Anyway, today they got what was coming to them. Ok…so a few people were a bit scared but I swear that most of them were cheering him on.

I was really proud of Jesus…and to be part of his inner circle. Today, Jesus even stood up to some of the elders. They asked him for a sign to show why he was doing what he was doing”. That threw me, I can tell you but no…not Jesus, he stood up straight and tall, looked them square in the eye and in a loud, clear voice he told them “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  

It didn’t make much sense to me but it sounded really good and I could see people nodding along. Do you know what? I think my pal Jesus is destined for great things. I reckon, he could even teach the Romans a thing or two about being in charge“

Ha ha, I wouldn’t put it past him.

A sympathetic Elder
I spotted him the moment he entered the outer court. Couldn’t miss him really because he always has a crowd around him and people seem to followed him. Plus, he was pointed out to me as a bit of a trouble-causer.

I wouldn’t say it out loud but I rather like him, he talks a lot of sense and if it wasn’t for the others being dead set against him, I would’ve like to have got to know more about him and listened to what he had to say.

I followed him today, at a bit of a distance, to see if I could catch what story he might tell. He looked to be in a bit of a mood. I don’t blame him really. I bet he never gets any time to himself with that motley crew following him everywhere.

I noticed that he started twisting some cords together and before anybody realised what was happening he started waving the cord around as if it was a whip. He was like somebody gone mad, shouting at the dove sellers and accusing them of turning the place into a market. Well, it is…kind of. Its what we do in this part of the temple, its how we all make a living.

I can’t pretend that I wasn’t disappointed in him. If he carries on like this he’s going to get into real trouble. I saw my fellow Jews running to stop him. I would have warned him but I don’t want to make trouble for myself. I even tried to help him by asking him to give us a sign as to why he was doing what he was doing but he gave some garbled answer about destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days. That didn’t do him any good, I can tell you.

He’s in for it now. I mean…there’s only so much we’ll put up with. The church elders have been looking for a good reason to get rid of him. If he’s allowed to carry on, he’s going to ruin it for all of us with the Romans and we have a pretty good thing going on.

Hmm… …I hope he goes on ok.

This was presented as a four-person dialogue
Julie Clarkson

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