The pastor this morning preached about Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. He said that Jesus was getting rid of the moneychangers and sellers of animals in the Temple because they were overcharging the worshipers. The pastor then likened the Temple to believers, whom Paul calls a temple. Jesus wants to cleanse us, he said.
I have difficulty seeing myself as God’s Temple, especially when I consider how strict the Torah is about keeping the Tabernacle pure. Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and that occurred once a year. There were guards protecting people from infringing on holy territory. Infringements could result in death.
In a sense, priestly laws in the Torah were aiming to separate the holy Tabernacle from what was commonplace in ordinary, day-to-day life: death, sex, and sin. But can I be that pure? Well, we all die. I can be spiritually reborn and an heir to eternal life, though. On sex and sin, I will be continually impure.
I think of Ephesians 5:3-5, which challenges me:
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (KJV).
No foolish talking? No jesting? That would get rid of a lot of jokes! Let no fornication or covetousness be named among us? That would eliminate a lot of television shows for Christians to watch! Some argue, of course, that we see those sorts of things mentioned in the Bible. Fornication is not exactly glamorized in the Bible, but it is mentioned, sometimes to narrate what happened, and often as a warning. And there are plenty of covetous characters in the Bible. Television shows can warn us about the consequences of certain sinful actions—-even worldly TV shows depict adultery leading to bad consequences—-but they can also harden one’s heart to the deceitfulness of sin.
But no foolish talking? No jesting? Just giving thanks in our conversations? Colossians 3:16 mentions believers admonishing themselves in hymns and spiritual songs. I am all for gratitude and talking about spiritual things. But there should be room for fun. I’d go crazy if my mind were on religion 24-7!
These letters, though, may be reacting against the parties of those days, which had lots of drinking and sex (if I’m not mistaken). Plus, there should be some gravity in how people approach the world.
How did I get here in this post? Well, seeing myself as a Temple seems to imply to me that I have to be pure and perfect. But people, including myself, are not pure and perfect.
Some of it’s wondering if I, as a Christian, can watch Family Guy! It used to be Desperate Housewives, and now it is Family Guy! I need some laughs! Unfortunately, some of that falls into the realm of foolish talk. A lot of comedy does, doesn’t it?