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Wednesday Wondering - March 27, 2024


Mark 11: 15 – 18

15Then 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; 16and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17He 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.”

18And 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.


We have entered what many of us know as “Holy Week” the last week of Jesus in Jerusalem. I have often wondered what this week was like for Jesus. I wonder if I was in the same position, would I do what Jesus did? It is difficult for us sometimes because I think that we have this idea of Jesus and that Jesus we know can be different from the one we might just see this week. The scripture today paints a picture that is very different from the Jesus we are used to seeing in other biblical stories. We are used to seeing Jesus the shepherd. Jesus the one who calls the little children. Jesus the healer. Jesus the one who eats with the tax collectors and the marginalized. We are so used to seeing Jesus the gentle, meek, and mild, that we forget that there is much more to who Jesus was in the world.

We sometimes picture Jesus with all of these wonderful attributes and when we do, I wonder if we tend to dehumanize Jesus. Jesus becomes this perfect individual who we are told that we must be like and yet we can never be perfect, so we struggle to attain the unattainable in our lives. We forget that there is an understanding of Jesus as full human, feeling the full range of human emotions, all human emotions.

The Jesus we read about in these passages from Mark’s gospel is Jesus the angry, Jesus who comes in a sees the injustice of what is happening and he reacts. In the reading from Mark, Jesus recognizes those who are profiting off of the poor, those who are selling animals for sacrifice because these sellers know that many of those who have travelled to the temple cannot afford to bring with them offerings and therefore must buy them, at the temple, if they are to fulfill what the temple authorities demand. These ones who are profiting off of the misfortune of others. And Jesus is angry, angry enough to throw them out of the temple, to turn over their tables. This is a Jesus that we are not used to seeing, but it is important that we do see this Jesus. This is an important Jesus for us because it helps us to understand that being our fully human selves is important and that includes our anger.

I am not sure if any of you were like me, but I was raised to think that anger is wrong. I was raised to understand that I shouldn’t get angry, that anger was a negative emotion and was something that should not be expressed. But the reality is that anger is a part of being human. I had the opportunity to go and see someone the other day and when I got there they told me that they were not having a good day. I inquired why it was not a ‘good’ day. Now the reality is that their life has changed dramatically and their life is very different now and they were angry. Of course they would be angry and I believe that they have every right to be angry. Anger itself I think is good and can tell us something about ourselves and our lives. Jesus was angry at the injustice of what was happening. We too can be angry at how we might see the injustice of this world. We can be angry when circumstances beyond our control seem to be taking over our lives. We can be angry at how life sometimes seems so unfair. We can be angry at some of the things that have happened in the world. We can just be angry.

The challenge comes when we have to figure out what to do with that anger. When we are angry it can be so easy to lash out at others, to blame other for what is happening in our lives and the world. It can be easy for us to transfer our anger onto another person and I think that this is the challenge with anger. I have come to realize that emotions themselves are not bad. Anger is not bad. It is what we do with it that makes it appropriate or inappropriate. Even though Jesus was angry, he continued to move forward, working to bring about God’s kingdom. Even though Jesus was angry he did not give up or give into his anger. That is our challenge. When we are angry, when it seems as if life, which can seem so unfair at times, has us down, we are called to continue to live. We are called to continue to work towards bringing justice, peace, mercy, love and forgiveness into the world. We are still called to work at living into God’s kingdom here and now. Being angry is not a bad thing, it can open our eyes to injustice, it can let others know that we might be hurting, it can help us to feel empathy with those who might be living under the yoke of oppression and marginalization. So be angry, but also continue to hold tight to God , to love, justice, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Continue to hold tight to Christ.


God of all humanity, we know that Jesus came to live a fully human life forgive us when we see Jesus as some perfect being that we know that we can never emulate in our own lives. Help us to see that in being fully human Jesus experienced all of life, the joys and celebrations, as well as the anger and frustrations. Give us the wisdom to see that throughout it all Jesus continued to live as you call us to live with love, mercy, compassion, justice, and most importantly forgiveness. Help us forgive ourselves  our own anger rather than ignoring it. Help us to continue to live as you call us to live, even when we are angry. We ask this in the name of the one who turned the tables, you son Jesus. Amen.

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