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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Lent 3, Year B
South Sydney Uniting Church
March 7, 2021

 John 2:13-22

‘Kindness, accountability and action’

“Señor, señor/ Let’s overturn these tables/ Disconnect these cables/ This place don’t make sense to me no more …” (Bob Dylan, 1978).

What does Jesus discern?

That the temple has been made a market, a place to buy and sell religion at the expense of those in real need of support, help and healing.

That collusion among the wealthy and entitled leads to corruption — of institutions, individuals and value

Jesus discerns the moment to act.

Put positively, Jesus discerns that true religion entails free kindness, accountability and action

Lent is a season of discernment and we too can learn the difference between coercion (fearful compliance) and liberation (joyful life in concert with others). We too can learn free kindness – to accept it and to offer it, to live in it.

We too can learn, perhaps slowly, fitfully, to live more simply – to recognise purity of heart, in friends and strangers, insiders and outsiders.

What gifts do we recognise in one another? In the next few weeks, we’ll hold a silence at the centre of our vigil – a silence in which to discern spiritual gifts for ministry. Diverse gifts. Wisdom … practical, moral, pastoral, musical …

Jesus discerns the moment to act.

And we can come to our senses – learn to act in accordance with various emotions. We can come to know ourselves – self-awareness, responsibility, creativity. Anger, for instance, might be expressed as protest, as prophecy; through art, by way of love.

Jesus cites Zechariah’s prophecy about a consuming zeal for God’s house, and expresses his own zeal to reclaim the world as a place where human beings, as “children of God” (1:12), are at home in God’s house, recognising the divine presence (“glory”) in line with the psalmist who sings: “The genius of God is displayed in [all] creation./ Night and day proclaim the word of God …” Amen.