Scripture: Mark 11:12-26
Key verse: (15) Then 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.
Reflection: Happy Valentine’s Day! We associate this day with romantic love and gifts of candy and flowers. The origins of the day go back to the early Christian church as a day to honor one or more saints named Valentinus. There are several legends and stories about those saints that inspired the holiday. You can read more about those here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day
As I read the Scripture passages assigned for today, I was looking for love. Maybe some beautiful poetry or some words of encouragement. Instead I found this passage from Mark, the story of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem. I confess this isn’t the Jesus I want to encounter on Valentine’s Day. Jesus is challenging and tough. He has a temper. He is an activist. He sees something that is wrong and he addresses it right away.
Sometimes we mistakenly believe that Christian love never rocks the boat and never upsets the apple cart. We domesticate love so that it is non-confrontational. We reinforce the status quo, even when it isn’t just, rather than challenge the powers to change. That isn’t love. Love changes the world by working for justice. Love fights oppressive systems that create unnecessary burdens. Love stands up to the powerful when they misuse their power. Love speaks up for the silenced. Sometimes love overturns the tables in order to make the world a better place.
Prayer: “Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right side or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your best side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition, but I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so we can make of this old world a new world. Amen.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].