- All age time
- Reading Matthew 21: 12-17 (Good News Bible)
- Prayer for others
Welcome and let us worship God
‘Those who choose to do my will, will receive from me a memorial and a name in my own house and within my walls; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” Isaiah 56: 4 5 7
All age time: (for 0-100 years)
This is the special week when we remember that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to cheering crowds on the Sunday, and then by Friday they were shouting for him to be put to death – which happened in a horrible way.
- Over the week: let’s make a kind of model or frieze of the Holy Week story, with something added each day to reflect that part of the story. There will be a short service each day telling the story of Holy Week, with suggestions for what to do.
If you have a tray that is spare, use it, adding something to it each day
If you have a large sheet of paper cut things out/ colour them, stick them on
- Today’s Bible story is about Jesus causing a scene in the Temple when he overturned the tables of the money changers and drove out those selling animals and pigeons
- Something to make: if you are using a tray, put a piece of rope or string and some coins on it. If you are making a frieze, put tables upside down, sideways and the right way up on it, plus some coins and some pigeons
Lifted high on your cross,
drawing all folk to you.
Down you came to live among us
part of your creation,
knowing poverty and sorrow,
sharing each temptation.
On the gallows there they nail you
God despised, rejected,
deep within your earth they hide you
till you’re resurrected.
Lord, you looked from your cross
in agony and in love:
you saw executioners in need of forgiveness
you saw a dying man in need of the hope of eternal life
you saw your mother and your friend bereft and grieving
and your thought s were for them
for you knew how faithful and true the Father is
Lord we look at your cross
and are ashamed at our own failings
weakness and lack of faith
Help us to look beyond ourselves
to see where there is need
to trust in your faithfulness and loving care
Through Christ our Lord we pray Amen
Matthew 21: 12-17
Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, and said to them, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a hideout for thieves!”
The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law became angry when they saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children shouting in the Temple, “Praise to David’s Son!” So they asked Jesus, “Do you hear what they are saying?”
“Indeed I do,” answered Jesus. “Haven’t you read this scripture? ‘You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise.’”
Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Reflection (what Jesus might have thought before he went to the Temple)
Sunsets are one of God’s gifts to humanity, and I really love sitting here on the Mount of Olives watching the sun go down on the city opposite: the silhouettes in shades of red and orange, purple, grey and brown. Those who live there – especially those who run the place – like it to be referred to as the ‘Holy City’, but somehow that sticks in my throat, as it is such a complete misnomer. More human blood has been spilt in fighting for control of it – especially by those who like to call themselves ‘the people of God’ – than has been shed from all the animals offered as sacrifices in the Temple.
For so many of those who live in the city and run it, or have a major financial stake in it, the pursuit of power and wealth is their main motive. They will go to any length to achieve their ambitions: truth, justice, compassion, loyalty, all may be sacrificed in pursuit of those goals. Greed, abuse, indifference and self-centred-ness reign supreme. And hypocrisy! Whenever I go into the Temple my nose quickly registers the smells of burning animal flesh and incense, but both are swamped by the reek of hypocrisy and self-righteousness that fills the whole building.
You can just hear them, if you challenged them: “How on earth could you possibly call me self-righteous or a hypocrite? I fulfil all the requirements of the Law specified by the Sadducee authorities, I do all that the Pharisee rabbis say that I should do. I come here to pray, I bring offerings over and above what is required, I am most diligent about what I eat, how I wash, with whom I mix. So what could possibly be wrong with that? How could God not but be pleased with me?” And if you challenge them, “What do you mean, we should be including lepers, prostitutes, foreign collaborators, people with disabilities, fully into the people of God? There’s absolutely no way we will! We are decent, respectable people and don’t want to be seen mixing with those who are not. God doesn’t like them, and neither should we. He has blessed us with good things because we are faithful, and they are cursed because of their faults. God has ordained how things should be: men matter more than women and children put together, foreigners can never be the same as us, some people are made priests or aristocrats to rule the rest.”
I’ve heard it again and again. It makes me sick, it makes me angry. This isn’t at all what God wants, it is using God’s holy name to shore up an unfair and corrupt system. God’s house is supposed to be a house of prayer where all may come to God and share fellowship with him and with each other. All should be welcome there: male and female, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, wise and foolish, weak and strong, healthy and ill, able and disabled, young and old – and everyone who fits somewhere in between. God’s love, God’s Kingdom, embraces them all. He burns with anger when people put up barriers, especially when they accuse him of being responsible for their prejudice. I feel the power of God’s Spirit raging within me and driving me to act. I must go and demonstrate most clearly that God does not welcome barriers or corruption – least of all in his holy house. It will be a sign to the world that God is acting, is bursting in on human history, to address what is wrong and to establish his true values, his kingdom. I am called by God, through my death and hoped-for resurrection, to bring about that change. Those who share with me, through the signs of bread and wine, will know what it is to be part of that community where there are no barriers, no divisions, between them and God, between them and each other. They will know that they are all equally loved and valued in God’s eyes.
Prayers for others
You see into the hearts and lives of people
and see what their real needs are
We bring you now our prayers for others
trusting that you know far better than we do what people need
and yet you can take and use our prayers
in your work of bringing healing and wholeness
We pray for those who are struggling with unhappy lives
hurting, broken or abusive relationships
for families not speaking
who have lost contact
for people who feel that their life is going nowhere
that no one loves or values them
We pray for the Queen, the governments
for all in positions of leadership in this and every land
We pray for those who don’t have enough to eat
who don’t have somewhere to call home
are worried about family, friends, money, job or home
for all who long to live in peace and safety
particularly in parts of the Middle East and Africa
for those who have fled from their homes seeking safety
for those who offer help
and those who offer only indifference or harm
We pray for those who are lonely, feeling down or grieving a friend or loved one
those waiting for or receiving treatment, and those for whom there is no treatment
those who are ill, those who look after them, and those who worry about them
for all who are affected in any way by the Coronavirus pandemic, here and around the world
We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us
And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
Secure in God’s love
be steadfast in his service
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
rest and remain with you,
today, and every day, and for ever. Amen