The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making 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. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2: 13-17
Jesus is furious. So angry he tips over tables. So indignant he makes a whip. There is chaos in the holy temple – birds loose, flapping frantically; lambs bleating, hooves clicking on the stone; people shocked, voices rising in a cacophony of languages; no one understanding what is happening, where they should go, if it is safe to stay.
Jesus comes into Jerusalem’s temple, and is livid. “Stop making this house of prayer a marketplace!”
How do you interpret this story? We know Jesus is always turning things upside down but this – this is a major event, so important it’s recorded by all four gospel writers, something that rarely happens.
What is going on at the Temple that infuriates Jesus? Do we even need to care?
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1: 9-15
In my closet is a purple wool jacket, part of a suit that used to be my grandmother’s. It has a label from Marshall Field’s, the old department store in Chicago, where she was from. I loved my grandmother dearly, and have loved wearing that purple jacket. It’s as if I were wrapped in her love: warm -- and just slightly scratchy.
Recently I took the jacket out from my closet and noticed a small hole on one sleeve where a moth must have had a snack.
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume…,’ said Jesus. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1:9-13
Mark 1:16-20 - Jesus said to them, “Follow me…”
When this church was searching for a new minister just a few short years ago, the summary description of King’s Chapel sent out by this congregation was to this effect:
King’s Chapel is Anglican in worship style, Christian Unitarian in theology, and Congregational in governance.
Three ways of being – Anglican, Unitarian and Congregational. No other church in the whole world is like King’s Chapel, utterly unique.
And what do these three descriptors mean - Anglican in worship style; Christian Unitarian in our understanding of God; Congregational in how we make decisions?
What’s the history behind this church, founded in 1686, begun as the English King’s Chapel, which 100 years later became the very first Unitarian Church in the New World?
We’ll be exploring these questions over the next several months – looking at our history as we move into our future.
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him…[H]e spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man….”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided.
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5: 21-24
You: Salt of the Earth and Light of the World? Really?
Matthew 5: 13-14
“You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.” What did Jesus mean?
He didn’t say, “You have the potential to be salt of the earth.” He didn’t urge us,
“With a little more sprucing up, you could become light for the world.”
He said it as if it were already true. He declared it as if it were obvious. Jesus told the group, huddled before him on the Galilean hillside, “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”
They were no select group. They were just an assortment of people who’d gotten up on an ordinary morning, and made their way to the hillside that day, to hear this man Jesus about whom they’d heard. They got up, just as all of us did on this ordinary morning, deciding – for one reason or another – to make our way here, to King’s Chapel.
And then we hear, as those on the hillside did, these odd words: “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.”
Is it true?