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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Holy Week: For the nations

Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves, and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?  But you have made it a den of robbers.”

And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him, for they were afraid of him because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. ~ Mark 11:15-19

Attribution: Jeremy Park,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell this story of Jesus cleansing the temple after he enters Jerusalem. All have Jesus reminding everyone that the temple is a house of prayer, not a den of thieves (or robbers, or bandits depending on the translation).

But here in Mark there is one significant difference.

This isn't just a house of prayer for Israel.

It is a house of prayer for the nations.

God is for everyone. From the very beginning the promise to Abraham was that he and his descendants would be blessed to be a blessing to the nations.

It was always God's plan to make us one.

This plan would take its next step after Jesus' death when the temple curtain would be torn in two - setting God loose on the world.

It would take another step forward on Pentecost when God's spirit would bring tongues from distant nations together in one understanding.

It continues to take steps forward when diverse groups meet together to worship. Some of the fastest growing churches in the US are multicultural and multi-ethnic churches.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that 11:00 am on Sunday mornings was the most segregated hours during the week (or whatever time it is that you worship).

But the call instead is for us to be together - all colors, nationalities.

Even faith traditions.

We may not worship together on Sunday mornings, so how is it that we gather together helping to set God loose on a world in need?

Help me to be a bridge builder, Lord. Amen

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