Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”
While the structure of the ancient Jerusalem temple and the modern church are quite different, don’t some still try to turn it into a den of thieves? As many were outside the temple as money changers and merchants profiting from the religious practices of the day, how many today still use that church organization to sell their wares? Perhaps they are not blatant bankers, but don’t many still see that church as a means of professional networking? Don’t others use it as a forum for advertisement of their services? Might others not use it as a means of gaining social status or recognition? Even turning that church into a social club might be thievery on par with the money changers and merchants of that old temple . In that temple it was the action that was inappropriate, many times though an inappropriate attitude is as heinous as any action. A house of prayer serves a singular purpose, and that prayer demands a focused attitude. The strict rules of Sabbath had that purpose of focusing ones mind towards God, though even those rules can become misapplied for the benefit of the thief. The current debate on ad orientem comes to mind (though I am not sure why). Here all face in one direction, symbolically and singularly focused toward God. The debate goes that in its alternate, versus populum, we are turned with our eyes facing each other. Might ad orientem with all eyes on God emphasize better that singular focus of prayer, and versus populum with eyes on each other give just the slightest advantage to thievery?(granted, this is a stretch)
Of course that temple was destroyed long ago, and today there is little need for sacrificial livestock and foul. Today though those same thieves are active in that mystical temple of Christ that is comprised of each individual. Though that demand for livery has plummeted, the same thieves have capitalized on the temple consumers demand for flat screen televisions and electronics of all sorts, along with every luxury item imaginable. Those same thieves have even stolen the name of that religious feast day that the modern mystical temple of Christ had celebrated, appropriately named Christmas and its Advent, and rebranded it to better suit their needs; the Holiday season. These thieves don’t hawk their wares outside our stone structured building, instead they lure us into that den of theirs, the shopping mall.