Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Play

Did Jesus have an affinity for the temple? I ask this question after seeing Jim Purtle doing an excellent job portraying Jesus in our church's Easter drama. There is a scene where Jesus clears the temple. From our angle it appears that Jesus stands staring up at the temple after he has rebuked the money changers. (Noticeably absent from the scene was a whip, though; I like to imagine they tried it, but it didn’t go well in rehearsal.) Anyway, this scene got me thinking about the relationship of Jesus to the temple.

I have tended to be one who downplays the sacredness of earthy things. I don’t care much for the idea of relics. I have always thought, “no running in the sanctuary” was a silly rule. I no longer even get misty when someone plays “Proud to be an American.” And usually I think I am just agreeing with Jesus. He was God. He had no home here, roaming around the countryside with his disciples. He continually told people to keep their eyes on heavenly things and showed the silliness of being tied to this earth.

But twice we hear Jesus refer to the temple as his Father’s house (or the place where his Father is). I began to wonder if there was more to it than I have seen before. If Jesus was God and was with God from the beginning, than he was there when the first temple was built. He knew the sacrifice, and the patience that went into that place. He knew all it stood for and all its history. He knew every person who gave up some time or talent to build the first one. And he knew the scattered people who would come back generations later and rebuild it. Further, he knew the stone and earth that were used to make the temple came from the ground he created. And that thousands of years before he had set aside that ground as the place to build this house. I think the earth, the church, and the people around it would take on a whole new sacred meaning if we could see it as he does.

Anyway, good job, Jim.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I think that under the old covenant, the temple played an extremely vital role. I just noticed something about this story for the first time when were reading Mark's account in Sunday school a few weeks ago. This marketing was being done in the Court of the Gentiles. This was the only part of the temple where Gentiles were allowed to worship. I think what made Jesus so angry was that these people were disenfranchising another group of people whome they saw as inferior. That's why He pointed out that this temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations.