It was a Monday, and I had gone to the temple to offer praises and to worship God. I was dressed to impress, wearing my best bib and tucker, well you do, don’t you, when you go to the temple? I wanted people to know that I took this God stuff seriously and of course I wanted to be seen looking my best.
I walked in through the large oak doors, past a group of women and some lepers who were not fit to enter. I didn’t even acknowledge them, not even a tip of my hat or half a smile.
I took my seat, three rows from the front, with a good view of the proceedings, but not too close just in case I was asked to make a commitment to something or other. Well, you don’t want to do that, do you?
All was still and quiet, but then something changed. Something new had begun and I was desperate to be a part of it. Maybe not at first, but as time went on and as order turned to chaos, I did not want to be sitting three rows back any more, I wanted to be at the front. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself, let’s go back a bit.
As I have said, there I was minding my own business when there was a commotion at the door. I strained my neck to see what was going on, and then I saw Him, a man, youngish, plain looking, nothing to write home about really.
He was normal, like me, but not as well dressed of course. But He was surrounded by people. Everyone wanted a piece of Him. What was He saying that was so important? Who was He anyway?
Eventually people settled, and the young man stood up. He took the scroll, read from it, handed it to the attendant and sat down.
There was a hush of expectation, no-one hardly dared breathe and then He spoke. It was like nothing I had ever heard before.
His voice was soothing, interesting, meaningful, and He talked about God in a new way. In a way that somehow made God accessible, made Him more real, made Him interesting.
Everyone was hanging on His every word, including me. What was it about Him, what power did He have? What authority? What hope?
But then the spell was broken. There was another noise from the door, but this time it was not a welcome one. There was a man, scruffy and unkempt, loud and unruly, who staggered into the middle of the temple.
He pointed accusingly at the young man and moved towards Him threateningly. Officials from all sides stood and moved quickly towards them, ready to intervene. But wait – a silence, a calm hand in the air, like a slow motion picture, a smile, a few words and then stillness.
I watched the scruffy man, the one who had not been wanted, the one who didn’t fit in, the one who stood out, and I waited. He rolled on the floor as if in great pain, he made a scene; he behaved in an inappropriate way and yet Jesus walked over, bent down and helped him up.
The man was no longer shouting, or wagging an accusing finger, he was calm, like he was somehow a new person. Suddenly he was clean and whole.
What had happened that day? How did this young travelling preacher change a man? A man in need, and a man in a bad place, a man who came into the temple searching for peace, but was only met with our disdain. A man unclean, and yet Jesus met him and cared for him.
Healed him. Changed him. Loved him. And if I am honest I was changed too. I too wanted to be changed, wanted to be new, wanted to start again, hope again, live again. And Jesus, well He made all this possible.
(From The Shadows of Victory: Ride the Rollercoaster of Holy Week by Deacon Becky Lovatt)
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With Many Peaceful Blessings