The last few years I’ve developed a Holy Week tradition of reading “The Daily Bible in Chronological Order” Commentary by F. LaGaard Smith“Â Â Â The readings from Nov 10 – 19 cover the entire Passion week story. The approach is “harmonized gospels” , a totally integrated account of the life of Jesus in chronological order.
Sunday was Palm Sunday. Everyone who had “eyes to see”could not help but erupt with praise and adoration at the presence of the Messiah! If they didn’t praise him, the rocks were gonna cry out.
Monday’s story is the Cleansing of the Temple.Â Jesus would not tolerate the hijacking of purpose for the place of worship. He drove out the marketers and the consumer based system. It did not belong in God’s house. “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.” He would not tolerateÂ it.
My take is not to bash “the industry”. My question is , what is the heart motivation behind the system that angered Jesus?
He saw worship corrupted. Sacrifice replaced by convenience. Service displaced by selfish motivation. The world’s value system was embraced to make church more appealing. He evaluated these values asÂ un-holy and not worthy of being in his father’s house because their priorities were not God centered, rather,Â they were man centered. He drove out the merchandising mindset,Â he threw out a prayerless liturgy, he took the whip to corrupt leadership.
In my view what is spoiling worship in our day is not “the industry”. What’s killing worship are values and practices based on envy, comparison, covetousness and idolatry of “ministry success”. It is placing a higher priority on technique and “excellence” than prayer and healthy relationships. What’s killing worship, if such a thing is possible, is worshiping the results of “worship” – namely, lots of people feeling good.
I think I just blogged my first rant. Jesus had a clash of values with the religious power players.
So, what values are worth fighting for? I’d love to see your comments!