Hi from Peter (I usually say from your Curate but I have now finished the study required, and have been sent a different licence by Bishop Colin.)
I wanted to share with you about what I am up to as I seem to be lots of other places recently. Due to illness I have been covering shortages at the local and not-so-local prisons. As you can imagine that work is very much part of what God has called me to do. The schools work is also going well and the afterschool club a regular Monday feature. You will always find me there trying to keep some semblance of order. It is great fun, but that is not what I want to talk about today.
Recently at short notice- 7pm Saturday night- I was asked to cover the prison the next day. I agreed but had nothing prepared. When I turned up the men were anxious to pray for the person who was ill, so we began there. After a time of worship we turned to the word. The reading that day was from John 2:14-22 where Jesus clears the temple courts. The reading took me back to my experience in the “Charismatic Renewal” of the 1970s which I am just old enough to have been part of.
“And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father ’s house a place of business . ” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
This place was supposed to be for Gentiles to come and worship and pray, and it had been turned into a cattle market and a place to fleece people, hence the money changers.
Giving to the temple had to be done with special money which you could only get from the priests, so the money changers could charge what they liked. Whilst this was going on prayer and worship were pushed out. Now you are probably wondering where this all fits? As you know unless you are a visitor (and a very warm welcome if you are), I have been told that during my absences the Holy Spirit has been moving in a different ways during the services, which is great and exciting!
My experience tells me that when the Holy Spirit starts to move this passage takes on a whole new dynamic, you see God starts with his people first, He is so zealous for us, as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:9) that He wants to drive out anything that gets in the way of our worship and prayer. He will also turn over much of we think is valuable and get rid of that as well. It can at times be very emotional, and uncomfortable. My advice, which was given to me when I was a young Christian, “If you see where God is moving jump right in and get involved.”
I have found it to be good advice and greatly satisfying.