If you think that this week’s text feels a bit misplaced, you’re not wrong. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus flips tables in the Temple courtyard just after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But in John, we get this narrative much earlier, following directly on the heels of Jesus performing his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. So, for John, Jesus flipping tables at the Temple is more an inauguration of Jesus’ earthly ministry rather than a culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

How do we craft worship around this text in the middle of Lent when we’d probably much rather deal with it in relationship to the triumphal entry and the beginning of Holy Week? I suggest that we start with an important—and perhaps obvious—observation: what happens at the Temple matters to Jesus. For all that Jesus is out in the world teaching, tending, and performing miracles, we can’t separate his work in the world from the work that is done in worship. And the same is true today. Worship forms and informs how we live out the good news in the world, and how we live out the good news in the world forms and informs our worship.