John 2:13-22

Third Sunday in Lent

This text indicates that the worship of God has been corrupted and needs to be refined and reformed. During the Passover celebration, Jesus went to the temple to worship and found in the outer courtyard area the glory of his Father’s house being turned into a marketplace.

The pilgrims who came with lambs and doves spotless and without blemish would never meet the requirements of the temple. They were forced to purchase very expensive lambs and doves as required for their sacrifices, and they were charged a fee to exchange their money for the temple currency. This system of making money was shrouded under a cloak of religion.

These practices had been going on for so long in the temple that the people had gotten used to them and thought they were right. There are also things going wrong in the church but they are not considered wrong as the church has gotten used to them too. There are strategies that are effective for the running of the church but it has never been considered how oppressive and discriminating towards the poor they may be. Jesus was sick of witnessing these swindlers taking advantage of the people. He was sick and tired of the worship of God clothed in human greed and selfishness. With His whip Jesus cleansed the temple, chasing traders and money-changers out.

This reading addresses the issue existing in the church today where human interest and authority is taking over the purpose of the temple and worship. Many churches are using worship matters to make profits. Religious leaders are employing their authority upon the vulnerable to achieve their own desires. The church in its missional identity and vocation tends not to consider the corruption against the poor and the vulnerable.

With the whip of Jesus can you destroy the idolatry that is taking place in your church? Can you refine the tradition in your church that is perverting the true worship of God? Can you reform the worship in your church that is exchanging love for God for idol worship and specifically the love of money and covetousness?

-Tioti Timon, Kiribati Uniting Church


God of love and mercy, thank you for cleansing the temple for our worship. Your name is sung in our daily praises but our hearts are confined in worldly things. Cleanse our hearts, Lord, that we may hear the cry of the poor and share your love in Christ, our God and saviour. Amen.

Prayer Points
Union of Welsh Independents

The recently-launched Innovation and Investment Programme. Pray that the churches may grasp this new and exciting opportunity to invest in their future and seek out new and pioneering ways into their local communities.

The work of the Economy of Life and Climate Change Working Group set up to respond to the CWM NIFEA Colloquials. Pray that the churches of the UWI will respond to the working groups’ call to use their funds and resources responsibly in pursuit of justice for all and care for the environment.

Pray that the churches of Wales will return from their period in lockdown with a deeper understanding of what it means to be welcoming, compassionate and loving communities in the post-COVID Wales.