The Ballad of a Moneyed Man
John 2: 13-22 (NRSVA)
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ 18 The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19 Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20 The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
He crosses the square, doves in hand
selling pardon and hope.
They’re drowning in debt and tears, but
he’s got a periscope…
Give him just a handful of coins
he will bellow and bray
— instant absolving guaranteed —
but you will have to pay.
Time to cough up your sins and cash
blood and feathers flurry
but you’ll be back before you know
so don’t be in a hurry.
He scavenges amongst sorrow
a commerce in despair
the forlorn the lost broken ones
pay him the highest fare.
But then the cage breaks, and the spell
flying birds bursting forth
dull coins scattered across the square.
A day changes its course.
He tries in vain to catch the birds
grasping, they soar higher.
Then ageless eyes meet his, blazing,
calling him a liar.
“This is my father’s house you’ll ken
I see what you have done
trading in misery and pain.
Yes you had better run.”
The moneyed man flees empty handed.
The stranger stays and weeps
amid the commotion and noise.
And that night neither sleeps.
Move us out of complacency
and stir us to care.
Reflect — Imagine showing Jesus around a place that is meaningful for you. What would you point out to him?