The Gospel reading in today’s Eucharistic lectionary focuses on Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet with perfume. However, today I want to focus on Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. Tomorrow I’ll return to the story of Mary’s anointing of Jesus.
When I decided to post music here at Lent & Beyond during Holy Week, I knew immediately what song would accompany a reflection on Jesus’ cleansing the temple. It may be a surprise to some of our readers who associate Anglican orthodoxy with classical music, but for me the obvious song choice was Christian rocker Mylon LeFevre’s “Turn the Tables on Me” from his 1989 album Big World. (Unfortunately it’s not available on iTunes, the link is to Mylon’s myspace page where you can listen to the song for free.)
The refrain is a prayer:
Buyers, sellers, cheaters, liars have had their way too long inside of me. Jesus, Master, take this temple, set me free – Turn the tables on me!
This Holy Week, I’m very conscious of one particular area of sin in my life, of how I need the Lord’s “violent grace.” I’ve let sin have a hold in my heart in recent weeks, I’ve tolerated compromise and I need the Lord’s power to cleanse me so that I can be the holy temple He desires. Lord help me open the door to the temple of my heart today and allow You to clean all the dark places where I’ve let sin rule just as the money changers ruled in the temple courts.
How appropriate that Psalm 51 is included in today’s daily office reading!
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Even without knowing that Ps. 51 was included in today’s Daily office reading, I’d been praying the words and listening to several songs based on this Psalm in the past 24 hours:
Lord help us long for clean hearts. Help us humble ourselves to confess and repent of our sins as David did so that we can receive the cleansing and restoration, renewal and transformation that You offer!
In closing, here’s today’s Collect:
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Note: I’ve provided each iTunes link for each song I’ve posted when the song is available for online purchase. Please respect copyrights.