13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’
Immediately when I read “money changers” I had that picture of Bernie Madoff with his grin that you see in the papers. I had the images of the corporate executives who got major bonuses after receiving government bailout. The state of Illinois knows something about corrupt money changers...
This corrupt money-changing perpetuates poverty and injustice. The corrupt actions of a few can have extremely negative effects on the livelihood of the rest, and in a globalized world, even more so.
Jesus spills the coins of corruption and turns the tables that crush the poor and oppressed. In times of economic crisis and with record job losses and the lines growing outside of places (like the Living Room Café) that provide warm meals and job support...Jesus’ table turning is good news.
The tables that need turning are not limited to Wall Street and corrupt politicians, however. We’ve all got tables that need turning. We've all got things that get in the way...fears, insecurities, prejudices, excuses, pride, indifference, greed...
Lent is not only a time of giving things up, it’s a time to be honest about the tables in our lives that need turning.
Prayer: Oh Lord, turn the tables that crush the poor, turn the table that perpetuate injustice. If it gets in the way, turn it. Our pride, our greed, our indifference...May it all turn. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Guide us in our Lenten journey of table turning and empower us to be table turners, too. Amen.
Josh Ebener, MDiv Senior