In our house we have a saying when we see a show being trailed on TV that we have no interest in whatsoever. When the announcer gets to the end of the trail either my wife or I add – ‘Not in this house it isn’t!’ This prompted me to think about the occasion when Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem in Matthew 21 on Palm Sunday.
How little things seem to have changed as virtually all Christian celebrations have been monetised to the extreme in some way, shape or form. Not content with making a fast buck out of those, the festivals of other religions are getting the same treatment in the name of those words ‘cultural diversity.’
It was only during the build up to Easter when I was at work in a supermarket did this really hit home to me. As I looked at the seemingly endless variety of eggs, cakes and hot cross buns (all containing enough sugar to give you type-one diabetes and get type-two free of charge!) I began to understand why Jesus expressed righteous anger at the con artists in what was after all His Father’s House.
Jesus knew that the temple sacrifices were symbolic of His forthcoming death and resurrection. This was a point in history when He was going to suffer humiliation, torture and a hideous death to save those who believe in Him from an eternity separated from God. This was the reason He entered into this world and not to add to an ever growing list of reasons for a chocolate based nosh-up two thousand years later! I even posed the question to some of my colleagues ‘Do you think Jesus had this in mind when He was hanging on the cross?’ Not surprisingly they shuffled awkwardly and wanted to change the subject.
I really do not want to come across as a complete killjoy (as I too can and have been drawn into the whole circus of these things) but it does concern me that the meaning of these times in the church calendar have been swamped by the world of pluralism and commercialism and is blinding people to the true meaning of both Jesus coming but also His redeeming death and resurrection.
This is something that challenges me on every level and I have to ask myself whether I am doing enough to fulfil the great commission in whatever way I can. Or am I content to be a passive believer that shakes his head and tuts in phoney righteous disdain as souls go on a path toward hell leaving it littered with nothing more than some seasonally appropriate packaging?
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