The cleansing of the temple. You come into my heart and see how I buy and sell the hearts of others, and squander my own. You come directly into my bondages and unremittingly tear them apart. Into the temple you come, shattering the illusory perfectionism, the sterile, stagnant mediocrity of my self-satisfaction; and you reveal yourself to be a God who is immediate, jealous, relentless, and merciful. You do not leave any corner of my heart unturned.
And as you stand in the surrender of my heart – as you wait in the echo of your severe tenderness – I sense you, and so too I sense that I am blind and lame.
For so long I have refused to be loved by you. For so long I have denied my need for you, denied my broken, blind, maimed thirst for you. I have cocooned myself in a temple of pride, where I can buy and sell with ease, and where only those things and those people I find to be palatable may enter, so that I can consume them and distract myself from the thirsty invalid that is my heart.
But you care nothing for conventionality. Beautiful, generous God – you have ruined me and have entered into these comatose rooms. By the light of your Face I see who I am – a child; and my mouth declares only who You are, because at last I am free from this whitewashed absorption. I sing as only a child can sing, tirelessly repeating the Word; the one Word that is all music and rhythm and lyric; the Word who is the beginning and the end, and the inspiration and substance of all love and reality.
But the pharisee within me is indignant… “Shut this singing child up, and send away this unsightly, ungainly cast-off. Tell them that You are not who they think You are. Tell them, for their own good, and then send them away.”
Yes, Lord, the pharisee within me cannot stand such balm and warmth and beauty, such a Divine act of ransacking, because it is outside of my control. You have upset my idea of you, God, and you mustn’t take my sensitivities lightly …
But still…As this pharisee looks out from her habitually condescending eyes, as she calculates within her mercenary heart, she knows that her need is far greater than that of the blind and crippled soul who now rejoices before You, radiant and renewed, singing the simplest hymn of love to ever pass through an infant’s lips.
O God, my being is a living thirst for You. Somewhere beneath these tightly furled habits and judgments and phylacteries there exists a heart that so longs to be overturned by You.
O God, I am that child singing praise to You in the temple; I am that blind and lame beggar who is healed by you; I am that pharisee who is scandalized and threatened by You and your battering ram …