Archbishop Oscar Romero once said, “When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.” This is precisely what Jesus is doing in the temple, and he’s calling out religious leaders for their complicity in these systems of exploitation and oppression.
Over the years I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to fit into spiritual boxes created by well-meaning folks who didn’t really know me. We all have a kind of spiritual temperament, a natural rhythm and style that works well with how we were created. Morning devotions may be perfect for one person but a complete failure for another. Journaling might unleash deep spiritual insights for some, gardening for others, and long periods of deep meditation for still others. All of these are tools intended to deepen our relationship with God and one another, but they are not the purpose of our faith.
Many of us are “really nice people”, but too many of us, at least in the United States, have lost the art of true hospitality. We’ve become accustomed to returning home, driving into the garage, and walking into the house. When we do venture outside more often than not it’s into the backyard or back to the car to run a quick errand.
A poem of creation’s lament.
When I go into my backyard sanctuary I carry with me the joys and concerns encountered in the world around me. I am not cut off from them but actually, become more aware of their impact on my life and my interconnectedness with all that buzzes in and around my world. When I plunge my hands into the earth I’m reminded of my connectedness to all creation. God formed me from the richness of the soil and breathed life into me. Like all creation, I am alive and sustained only by the grace of God.