Throughout this week, we have reflected on God’s pedagogy for the faithful. Today, we will focus briefly on those who “don’t get it.” In his cleansing of the Temple, Jesus seeks to overturn religious rituals that are no longer instructive or life-giving. Unfortunately, some Jewish leaders “don’t get” what Jesus is doing. They remain encased in a narrow vision of relationship with God. By contrast, Jesus brings fresh vision for a new, extravagantly rich relationship with the Divine.
The Jewish leaders ask for a “sign.” They do not seek a revelatory sign; they seek a sign that establishes Jesus’ authorization to drive out the merchants and money changers. Jesus replies, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Only after his resurrection do the disciples realize that Jesus was referring to his own body as a temple. Whereas the Jerusalem temple had been the locus of God’s presence, now in the Incarnation, Christ’s own body becomes the locus for God’s presence.
Throughout this week, we have seen that God employs many different methods for teaching the faithful: the law, the life and teachings of Christ, creation itself. Each of these pedagogies is unique. Yet, all of them share one common denominator: faith. Without faith, the law is just an onerous list of dos and don’ts. Without faith, we do not see the new relationship Jesus opens with the Divine. Without faith, the Crucifixion becomes a stumbling block and foolishness. Without faith, the forest becomes just so many cubic feet of lumber. Faith is fundamental to God’s pedagogy.
O God, who loves us extravagantly, may we grow in faith through the many ways you teach us. Amen.
As we continue in the season of Lent, we remember another important chapter in salvation history. Just as God established covenants with Noah and Abraham and their descendants, so did God renew the relationship with the Israelites by giving them the law. Obedience to the law was not the means of earning God’s love, but a response of love by the people to the love God had already shown them. The psalmist understands that God’s law creates a cause for rejoicing, for it is more valuable than gold. Both Paul and John address situations in which some had distorted the worship of God. Either they considered themselves too good for the gospel (1 Corinthians), or they had violated the covenant by altering proper worship for the sake of profit (John).
• Read Exodus 20:1-17. How do you keep God central in your life? When do you relegate God to the margins?
• Read Psalm 19. What do the heavens tell you? How often do you spend time in nature? In what ways does that activity renew your spirit?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In what ways is the cross a stum-
bling block to you?
• Read John 2:13-22. What signs do you ask of God? In what ways might they be life-giving, a renewal of relationship with the Creator?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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