Thursday, 25 March 2010

Cleansing of the Temple – Holy Week – KS 1 & 2

In a minute I’m going to tell you a story from the Bible, but before I do, I’d like us to think for a bit about your school and all the things that happen in it.
It’s got lots of different rooms in it, for different things.
What happens in the hall?
What happens in Miss Smith’s office?
… the staffroom?
…your classroom? (classroom for learning, it is the children’s home base in school)

Just imagine one day if you came in to school and Badgers class discovered that Miss Smith had taken over their classroom, thrown out all their stuff and turned it into an office for herself because she decided she needed more space…
Badgers might ask her,”what are we going to do, where are we going to learn?”
“You’ll just have to find yourselves a space wherever you can! You could do your lessons out in the playground…”
“But it’s raining!”
“Well, you’ll all have to bring umbrellas then!”

What would you think if that happened?

I don’t think Miss Smith would ever really do that, but I want you to remember it as I tell you this story…

Jesus had come to Jerusalem.
A lot of people were very excited to see him. He had come into the city riding on a donkey, and that made people even more excited. They thought he was going to be a king. It might seem strange to us to think of a king riding on a donkey, but it didn’t to the Jewish people.
A great king from their history King Solomon, had come into the city when they began to rule riding on a donkey*. The prophets had promised that one day God would send the nation another king as great as Solomon. How would they know when he had arrived? He would come riding on a donkey.
So when Jesus came into Jerusalem they thought this was it. Their great new king. No wonder they were excited. They thought he would fight a great battle against the Roman army and set them free…
But Jesus headed straight for the Temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps he was going to pray before he started the battle?
Everyone followed.
They went into the Temple after Jesus. He just stood there, and looked around.

The Temple in Jerusalem had lots of different spaces in it, just like this school. (Put up OHP of Temple from
In the middle was the holiest place. Only the people who worked in the Temple could go there. Then there was a place where Jewish men, the men who lived in that country could go to worship. Then there was a place where Jewish women could go .
Outside that was space where anyone from anywhere could go. Foreigners who had come from far away who wanted to pray could go there. IT was their space, the only space they had in the Temple.
Jesus came into that space, where there should have been room for all these foreigners to pray, but what did he see? It had been turned into a market place. There were people selling animals, people changing money, tables everywhere, noise and bustle. It had been completely taken over, not by the foreigners it was for, but by the people who worked in the Temple, as a place to make money. There was no room for prayer anymore.
It was just like if Miss Smith had taken over Badger’s classroom and left them nowhere to learn, no space for themselves.

Jesus was furious. “This is supposed to be a place for people to pray. Foreigners haven’t got anywhere else they can go. You have stolen their space from them to make yourselves richer. That’s not fair, and it’s not what God wants!”

And Jesus began to pick up the tables where the people were selling things and tip them over. There was money rolling all over the floor. There were animals running around. It was mayhem!

This wasn’t what people had expected their king to do! He was meant to be attacking their enemies, but instead he was telling them off!
What kind of king was this…?

In the days that followed, most of the people who had been so pleased to see him changed their mind, and by the end of the week, they had had Jesus arrested and killed. But that’s another story, which I know we will be hearing about over the next week, and in church when you come for your Easter service…

When we thought about Miss Smith taking over Badger’s classroom we could see it wasn’t right. I’m sure we would all tell her so. I’m sure she wouldn’t do it anyway!. The story of Jesus in the Temple reminds us of how important it is make space for other people, to make them feel welcome.

Let’s be silent for a minute to think about that story.

Prayer: that we will welcome others and make space for them.

*1 Kings 1.33 (it is actually a mule, which is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, but the idea is the same.)

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