Show me how to stand for justice. We shared the lent liturgy as the crown of thorns were placed on the cross and we felt the injustice of our Lord’s suffering after his arrest.
Hymn 20 Be still for the presence of the Lord leads us into our opening prayers based on Psalm 37, followed by Holy Communion for Lent and Passiontide; an invitation to ‘come to this sacred table; not be you must but because you may.’
We sing Hymn 706 Longing for light and our reading from John 2:13-22 tells the gospel narrative of how Jesus clears the Temple. Rev Hilary sets the cultural context of the crowded courtyard, the worshipful place turned, by its own authorities, into one of shameless exploitation and abuse of the poor through extortionate taxes for selfish gain. Jesus was enraged by what was going on, incensed by the disrespect to the Lord and thus empowered he overturns the frenzied marketplace of its traders, money-changers and sacrificial animals; the rightful anger of Jesus and his subsequent actions were ‘out of character’ and the scene that followed of ‘chaotic proportions.’
Rev Hilary describes her own anger at contemporary injustices and how, on occasions, we have permission to feel and act upon such ‘rightful anger’ when directed at wrongdoing. She points to our culture of apathy, buck-passing and indifference to those who are suffering; she challenges us with the question at the heart of the matter ‘what would Jesus do?’ and suggests ways of protest if we are to respond to Christ’s calling to us - to stand up for others and let them know that Jesus loves them.
The powerful message continues with Hymn 693 Beauty for Brokenness and our prayers of intercession pause us to reflect – God of compassion, hear our prayer.
With much food for thought, our service ends with Hymn 186 Tell out my soul.
Kindly provided by Steph Shipley