Oh my, the manse broadband doesn't like 7 p.m. on a Monday, it seems! Thankfully, someone else was able to take over the Zoom controls, and it all came out in the wash, with me reading my script into a landline! Huge thanks to A and H who saved the day!!
So, for anyone who is interested, here it in full (WGRG sources acknowledged as appropriate)
Opening Sentences (From ‘Eggs and Ashes’)
Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Friend
We tell your story
And we follow in your footsteps
Lead us into Holy Week
We walk towards the city
We wait in the garden
Lead us onto holy ground
We journey towards death
We hope for resurrection
Lead us into holy joy
A reading from the gospel of Matthew
(Matthew 21: 12 – 13)
Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people”; but you are making it a den of robbers.’
Music for Reflection
Poem ‘It was on the …’ (adapted from Wild Goose Resources Group)
It was on the Monday
that religion got in the way.
An outsider might have thought
that it was a closing down sale at Pets at Home –
Or panic buying the night before the Covid-19 Lock Down.
And the outsider, in some ways,
wouldn’t have been far wrong.
Only, it wasn’t dog food or cat litter, not even household pets,
it was pigeons and sheep that were being purchased.
And it wasn’t a closing down sale or the eve of Lock Down;
it was a rip-off stall in a holy temple, bartering birds for sacrifice.
And the price was something only the rich could afford.
No discounts, no vouchers,
No dedicated time for people who were older in years,
No priority access for NHS staff or Key Workers.
the holiest man on earth,
went through the bizarre bazaar
Scattering coins and smashing tables.
The doves were liberated -
and the pigeon sellers got angry.
The officials went crazy
and the ordinary people stood outside and clapped as one,
because he was making a sign -
that God was for everybody,
not just for those who could afford him.
He turned the tables on Monday…
The day that religion got in the way
Music for Reflection
Whether it is the money changers in the Temple, the widow using her last farthing to pay her Temple taxes, the loaded question religious officials asked about state taxation, or the thirty pieces of silver judged to be the worth of a human life, stories about money occur through the Holy Week narrative as told by the gospel writers.
Just for a few moments, we are invited to hold in our hands a coin or a bank card and allow it to inform our reflections…
I wonder what this object represents for you, and your own relationship with money…?
I wonder what questions might arise as you call to mind the way that the love of money had undermined the purpose of the Jerusalem temple…?
I wonder what questions around taxation, about poverty, or about the value of human life arise within you…?
In this strange time, as we stay at home, as we shop online, as we use contactless payment, as we wrestle with huge questions about wealth and poverty, what might Jesus want to say to us…?
On this Monday we pray that neither religion nor money get in the way
In this strange time, we pray for all whose work is in the retail supply chain for the essentials we need (and the treats we crave) in farms and factories, distribution centres and warehouses, who drive lorries and stack shelves, oversee queues and try to prioritise those in greatest need.
We pray for those who find themselves excluded, marginalised or rejected because of who they are, help us tear down barriers, literal and metaphorical, that all may find their home in you.
Aware of our own relative wealth, and the opportunities and responsibilities that brings, show us how we may be as Christ to others at this time.
As our journey through Holy Week continues
As we follow in your footsteps
From the Temple through the city,
Into the garden and towards the cross
Jesus, now lead on