Sermons 2006

"Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Lent 3B 2006 John 2:13-22

On Friday Pauli and I left the Northern Neck for Northern Virginia where I had a Commission on Ministry Meeting that began just before 10 AM and ended at almost half past three in the afternoon. We interviewed four splendid people, three women and an Army Colonel who will retire in six months, enter Seminary in 2007, and be available for hire as a deacon in June of 2010. Hmmmm.

Going to Northern Virginia is always a reinforcement of knowing how truly blessed we are to live in this Northern Neck and in this Northumberland County which so far has only one stop light – and we’re not really certain we need it or even like it. Fortunately it’s at Callao, almost twenty miles away.

Stop lights aside, we had no traffic holdups going to Alexandria and VTS, not even approaching and across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Not even a slow down. God is good, I thought. Coming back at 3:30 was a different kind of thing. Very important young things cut in front of us, almost causing a wreck, as we approached the Woodrow Wilson Bridge from the opposite end. It would have been easy to fly into a rage at such rudeness and bad conduct – but we didn’t. But it did bring to mind the frustrations that people who live in such places face in their daily commute with overcrowded highways, and inadequate parking and public transportation.

I remembered also that not too long ago, what we call road rage was very common in those parts, even reaching the extremes of Los Angeles type shooting of firearms and maiming other people stuck in the same miles long stopped traffic and no way to get away from the shooter. And no way to get help. Dialing 911 on a cell phone wouldn’t get help any faster.

Rage and Rampage. For some reason kids are acquiring weapons and going on shooting rampages over slights real or imagined – or for no discernible reason at all except for the thrill of killing others. For a time Columbine and its copycats seemed to rampage across the country – at least that’s the impression that the headline news spots gave week after week. We can only pray that it’s over – and keep our guns locked up.

Rage, rampage – and then outrage. Outrage is another thing entirely. We are outraged when we are the victims of rage and rampage. We are outraged when one spouse flies into a rage when the other spouse disagrees or when rage is used as a means of control. Or when such rage becomes physical, with beatings and battering. It is abuse, and we are outraged by it.

We are outraged when we sense something wrong and nothing being done about it. Had no one become outraged, we would likely still have human slavery in this country. Sometimes we are not outraged enough such things as human slavery continuing in the Middle East and Africa, or hunger and poverty – the list goes on and on.

Jesus was outraged by what he saw at the Temple that day. Here’s the scene: (1)

The Passover attracted worshippers to Jerusalem from all over the world. They came speaking different languages and carrying foreign monies. Booths and stalls in the Temple to exchange their monies in order to pay their temple taxes and make their contributions. Others were busy selling unblemished animals for the sacrifices. There was great commotion and excitement.

The temple covered some 35 acres. Originally built by Solomon about 950 B.C., it was burned to the ground by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. and rebuilt in 516 B.C. The temple in which Jesus found himself amid these cattlemen and money sharks was the glorious Third Temple begun by Herod the Great, who began the work in 20 B.C. and was not finished until 68 A.D., two years before its complete destruction in 70 A.D.

From the very beginning, sacred places had been important to the Hebrew people. The tabernacle, the traveling shrine of a tent, had been the center of the life of the Hebrew community. But they wanted a permanent shrine. King David gathered the materials for his son Solomon to build the first temple on Holy Zion. The temple and Temple Mount had always symbolized for the people the presence of their most holy God. So each time the Temple was destroyed it was restored.

It was especially gratifying for the people that Herod the Great curried the favor of the Jews by investing so much in the building of their shrine. The people were grateful to worship in Herod's temple, regardless of Herod's motives. The temple was the center of their life and helped to define what it meant to be a Jew. It gave shape and form not only to the Hebrew worship but also to their entire culture.

Recognizing the centrality of the Temple, and the joyous character of that festal moment, you can imagine what kind of shock waves ran through the Temple and the entire city of Jerusalem when this Jesus stormed through the temple area! And at the beginning of the Passover feast when the preparations and commerce had to be at its height. Then Jesus stormed in with a homemade whip of cords.

Why did he do this? We are affronted when people lash out at our own Christian institutions today. We are certain that we aren’t operating on an empty set of rules like they were at the Temple. After all, the Temple cult as well as the growing rabbinical and synagogue movement seemed more concerned with interpreting the rules supposedly laid down by Moses in Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus than in seeking God’s will otherwise. After all, wasn’t this the final revelation, those words of Moses?

In his outrage that day, Jesus swept away the old legalistic approach to faith and practice. By striking at the heart of it, he brought notice as the bringer of the new Revelation. The Old Law had been fulfilled in him. Now all things were made new. If only they could see it.

Disciples then and now are really shaken whenever they realize what Jesus was really doing. This is not our stereotype of gentle Jesus, meek and mild. This is a wild and angry rabbi, wild and angry prophet, wild and angry Son of God, eyes aflame with outrage.

The people were impressed, taken back, some even frightened, many angered in turn. "What sign can you show us for doing this?" they asked. Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." That sent them reeling. "This temple has been under construction for 46 years, and will you raise it up in three days?" Jesus thought he could rebuild it in three days! That was ridiculous. (1)

The disciples were also confused. They didn’t understand either.

What else is new?


1. last half adapted from “Clean House”, in WHICH WAY TO JESUS?, by Harry N. Huxhold, CSS Publishing Company, 1996, SermonMall

Wicomico Parish Church
PO Box 70
Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579