Storing stuff and the phenomenon of things like "Hoarders" or "Storage Wars" were part of the set up of the sermon. How much "stuff' we Americans have and keep, that we have to get storage units to store when our garages and houses run out of room for all of our STUFF. (I have a storage unit myself, but it stores my entire apartment that was a necessity when I moved back in with my mom. Pretty much all of my "stuff" that would never fit into my mom's little townhouse.
Pastor Dave told the badass story from John 2:13-22, where the Good Lord went all whoop-ass in the temple on Passover during His time of ministry. He looked at the temple, saw all the STUFF being peddled and traded in what's supposed to be a house of worship to The Father, and goes ballistic. (Oh, my Dad! Would I love to see Jesus totally lose his shit!)
The story, as it was told to us in church last night, was roughly this (and I'm adding my own paraphrasing twist here):
Jesus and the disciples headed to Jerusalem for Passover and naturally went to find a temple at which to worship, because it was sort of like going to your parents' house when it's one of their birthdays, or their anniversary, you know, a special day. They arrive at the temple and are aghast to witness what's going on in His Father's house.
It was sort of like a circus, or a state fair, as Pastor explained it, instead of a house of worship to the Father. Jesus witnessed animals for sacrifice for sale, because how inconvenient is it to lug your own sacrificial animal to the temple. Buy here! Pay more! Convenience! There were other "money changers" with tables and goods for sale and Jesus was more than ticked off.
He made a whip out of cords (whoop-ass!!! and what'd he make it out of? Thin air? Did he tell all the disciples to take the ropes off of their robes?) and started whipping everything around, knocking over tables (they had tables back then?) and got really pissed (yes, He was perfect, but bound by human emotions, including anger). He told the people of the temple to get all that crap out of there, going nutso ticked off at everyone, and said not to turn His Father's house into a "House of Trade." (Which sort of makes me feel guilty giving Tatus $20 for his Catholic church's raffle just for the chance to win a much-needed new TV in their cash raffle, but that's a separate story.)
The disciples remembered where it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." (John 2:17). Jesus went to far as to demand the destruction of the temple, which really, come on, it belonged to His family, so He sort of had the right. Prophetically, Jesus said it should be destroyed and that he'd raise it up again in 3 days. The Jews were like, "Yeah, but it took us 46 years to build this temple. How do you think you're going to raise it up in 3 days, man, really?"
But Jesus wasn't talking about the physical temple, per se. He was talking about the temple of His body and His (upcoming) Resurrection. As Pastor explained to us, yes, we were sitting in a church, an overt House of God, where we gather to worship. But he said that all of US were the Church. We, as people, were temples ourselves where we, as individuals, can worship God. Through our own thoughts and actions and admissions of praise and prayer.
I just was riveted at the visual sight of Jesus getting all ticked off and destroying the place, when He had every right to. It was Jesus' way of de-cluttering His Dad's place. People poo-poo me when I say that Jesus was a radical punk , but come on! Great Bible story. Zealous re-telling and poignant sermon, so two enthusiastic thumbs-up to Pastor Dave.
The band played quite well last night, as we had 4 vocalists, plus Jake, who was playing guitar and me on the djembe. We had just been praying about and talking about God sending us more musicians to augment our band when this young couple came to the service and sat in the back, listening and watching intently, with their newborn baby in it's little car seat basket. After the service was over, they approached us and mentioned that the young husband was a guitarist (and our Jake is SO ready to go back to playing bass) and his wife could sing and played some piano. God was IN our house last night. When Don left on bass, literally, that same weekend, Jake approached us about joining the band, right when we needed a bassist.
Hopefully, this new guy will have the time, talents and commitment to play with the Praise Band. We can only pray, as we have been, that God will send us more talent to join our worship experience. And God's at work in our church. He is IN THE HOUSE.
Pastor and I texted back and forth last night about my distaste at what I consider to be one of the church's greatest waste of funds: the electronic drum kit I was literally forced into playing by demand of our former lead guitarist and the Board of Elders who were receiving complaints from some of the old fogies that my acoustic drum kit was "too loud." Poo-poo to that. It's an acoustic instrument. We talked about getting a drum shield, which frankly, was my brother's suggestion like a YEAR ago to tone me down. There are also some other tricks that can be employed to dampen the kit. So I have new found hope that perhaps in the future, I'll be able to play my Rogers kit again in the sanctuary, and the fakey-fake blaring of the annoying, difficult to program, just-not-the-same richness and beauty of the kit can be replaced. I will continue to pray for that. (And I'd love to have the people who complained come up to me personally and I can show them a thing or two on a real kit vs. that electronic piece of, sorry Pastor, shit that I was given to play.
The djembe is working out beautifully for the time being as we pare our music down for the Lenten service and do a more soulful, acoustic set of songs for the season. Jake and I worked on a strictly improvised offertory piece over the weekend that I hadn't heard before. I can only attribute my ability to play the song along with Jake to the Holy Spirit, because I'd never heard the song before, and Jake gave me no sheet music or anything from which to play. It was only the 2nd time I'd played the djembe (I bought my own and she's a beauty), and I figured it out pretty well, all things considered. Jake and I just groove together as musicians. He played electric guitar and sang, and I played along, figuring out the beat as I listened to his rhythms. Oh, happy church day.
Except for that tiny tiff Pastor and I got into before the service about women not being allowed in our church to dispense communion. Pastor was telling one of the vocalists if she edged out any further, she'd be dispensing communion. "And don't forget!" I loudly vocalized, "Women can't give out communion at our church. They can only clean it up." Pastor said he'd been to other Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations who DO allow women to perform the act, but our archaic congregation does not, nor are women allowed to be on the Board of Elders. Soon, they'll be re-writing the church's constitution, and I hope they give serious consideration to the role of women as active participants in worship beyond what we're allowed to do now. Pastor said I should've accompanied him to the convention he'd gone to over the last couple of days. "Do you REALLY think I should've gone with you, Pastor?" I sarcastically asked. (Because I'm the congregation hell raiser who, like Jesus, gets angry when things in my Savior's house appears unfair and unjust, particularly towards the female gender.)
So after all of Luke's hard work yesterday, after which he VOLUNTARILY decided to TAKE A BATH, he was THAT filthy--I ran to Subway to get him some lunch, as I planned to only eat yogurt and berries. I walked towards Subway smoking my cigarette, holding Luke's 20-ingredient list of sandwich demands (lest we forget "random cookie"). There's this always-empty shoe repair place next to the restaurant, where, when I walked by, I could see 3 people sitting in a circle, having a Bible study. They looked at me strangely, and I looked at them strangely. Was I about to come in and have my Uggs repaired? No. I just found it to be a strange place to have a Bible study (it was obvious it was the Bible and not a book club). But I guess that's the beauty of our faith--it extends to the least likely of places.