Who would’ve thought a bookstore at a church (selling CHRISTIAN/religious books) could be such controversy?
Certainly not the staff as we made plans to turn the antiquated library into a book store that sold Bibles and books (at cost), and other items from our mission partners in Jamaica.
But my goodness . . . once word got out, you would have thought we’d nullified the crucifixion and resurrection. People were furious!
“Do you not remember what Jesus did when they sold things in the temple? He threw over the tables. What you are doing is blasphemous.”
Actually, they were half right.
Yes, he did overturn the tables. He was angry . . . one of the few times in scripture that we know he experienced the emotion of anger. But it wasn’t because they were selling things at the temple. That was actually customary, selling animals so they could be used for sacrifices within the temple.
He was angry at the injustice, selfishness, exploitation, and greed the religious leaders were using as they inflated the prices of the sacrifice, taking advantage of the people. He shook things up to call us all to lives of love, justice, and peace.
At West our mantra is to be real, relevant, and non-threatening as we offer people ways to encounter or fall back in love with Jesus.
BUT . . . (and yes, there is a But) . . .
We are non-threatening UNTIL you take that step, then loving Jesus comes with a cost.
So often we think Jesus is warm, fuzzy, and safe.
Actually, that isn’t the case. Sure, he offered people radical love and overwhelming grace. But, he also had expectations. Following him, loving him . . . wasn’t easy.
There’s a phrase popular today, “It’s all rainbows and unicorns” which is used when a beautiful situation turns sour.
Sometimes, for the religious people, that’s what happened when they hung out with Jesus.
And maybe that needs to happen to us today.
Where do we see injustice and we look away?
Where do we allow situations and people to use greed to oppress others?
How can we combat the overwhelming selfishness in our world today?
That would be what following Jesus would look like.
We would be a part of shaking things up so that all people can experience love.
Let’s shake some things up TODAY!
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:13-16