The pivotal point of Holy week (according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke) imagined from an unusual angle. I suspect the anger of the Temple traders would have been expressed far more colourfully - but this was written to be used as a mini-sermon and even then, I sensed that, when delivered last week, the final line did give rise to a certain amount of mild shock!
'I've always loathed those Galileans:
Rough lot from up north.
Uncouth, stroppy. Ought to stay in their own territory.
And this one: well, he came from Nazareth.
Nazareth! I ask you. Anything good ever come out of there?
You could tell by his accent.
Not pure like those brung up in Jerusalem.
Yes! Even us temple traders talk nicer than that.'
'It was trouble from the moment he appeared.
He sort of strode in
With a glint in his eye and his jaw set.
Came determined to make trouble if you ask me.'
'Now, we the Jerusalem Shekelovers have been Temple traders for generations.
Father, his father and his father before him
And maybe even before that.
Each of us handing on the pitch from father to son
And each of us building up the contacts with the animal breeders
So we knew, and still know, we sell the very purest
Of animals for sacrifice.
Not a single blemish on our animals!
A bit pricey but as perfect as you'd find
anywhere in the Temple courtyards.
So we've built up our reputation over the years - ain't we?
And so - got a right to be there, we have
And I’d fight anyone who says we ‘aven’t.'
'So there we are, me and my brother
On one of the best-likely trading days of the year.
Passover only days away and the wealthy ones
streaming in anxious to buy the best possible sacrifice.
Well, yes! Granted we had pushed the prices up a bit:
Ok, maybe - a big bit
But who wouldn't. Common sense ain't it?
'Cos it's not like this all year round
So we have to make the money to provide against leaner times.
And here we were, looking forward to a really profitable day.'
'Then, as I said, in he strides
With a whip in his hands. Rough sort of weapon really
Looked as if he'd made it himself.
And blow me
He starts to thrash the cattle and the sheep -
All our beautiful stock.
Can you imagine the chaos?
The bleating, the bellowing - and the muck.
Terrified animals everywhere.
In no time, the floor as slippery as you can imagine
The cows slithered, the sheep crashed into each other.
I got in the way of an enraged cow
and that damnable Nazarene's whip.
Just kept laying about the animals - and us if we got in the way.'
'Bit of a nutter, I reckon - and he certainly made us mad
And the din. Shouting all round; obscenities, oaths -
Not quite the language of the temple.
Then above the racket
His strange Galilean voice rang out
'You have dared to make my Father's house a den of thieves’.'
'The very idea. Us. Thieves.
I’d have liked to have smashed his head
against one of the Temple pillars.
But he was wild, wild, wild
So I wasn't going to tangle with him
And anyway, I needed to get out and find the animals he'd driven away.'
'Personally, I blame the temple authorities, we pay ‘em enough.
Should have their guards at the porches
More alert to spotting troublemakers
Although in truth, I'm not sure anyone could have held him down.
'Lost four beautiful lambs
And two totally unblemished calves that day.
It'll take weeks to recover that money.
Just thinking about it makes me mad again.That blaspheming so-and-so. Deserves to be damned-well crucified.'
More Holy Week and Easter material at The Cross and Cosmos Lent, Holy Week and Easter collection