The Cleansing of the Temple

Begin in me for good the pure change

When Solomon dedicated the Temple he rightly declared that not even the Heaven of Heavens could contain almighty God, much less this temple made with hands, yet God himself still came into the temple. He came as a baby, the essence of all light and purity in human flesh, he came as a young boy full of questions, seeking to know his father’s will, and today he came in righteous anger to clear away the blasphemous barriers that human power-games try to throw up between God and the world he loves. Then finally, by his death on the cross he took away the last barrier in the Temple, and in our hearts, the veil that stood between us and the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, in us and beyond us.

Thanks to Margot Krebs Neale for the images. You can hear the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title.

Cleansing the Temple

Come to your Temple here with liberation

And overturn these tables of exchange

Restore in me my lost imagination

Begin in me for good, the pure change.

Come as you came, an infant with your mother,

That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground

Come as you came, a boy who sought his father

With questions asked and certain answers found,

Come as you came this day, a man in anger

Unleash the lash that drives a pathway through

Face down for me the fear the shame the danger

Teach me again to whom my love is due.

Break down in me the barricades of death

And tear the veil in two with your last breath.

Break down in me the barricades of death

10 Comments

Filed under christianity, Poems

10 responses to “The Cleansing of the Temple

  1. It’s hard to comment on such powerful poetry without feeling that one’s commenting words are rather inadequate. But I wanted to say that the line ‘Restore in me my lost imagination’ just blew me away, reminding me of much that I have been thinking about while reading your book. And that picture at the bottom is astonishingly resonant, too.

  2. Excellent. I love the story of the cleansing of the temple. It has also been used powerfully as a metaphor for change in the Church by LGBT activists.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Yvonne, yes it is a powerful and always challenging story. I think it also has a lot to say about the St. Paul’s debacle and occupy

  3. “tear the veil in two with your last breath” – what a powerful, mystical image!

  4. Great stuff! Though a minor nitpick: I think “That innocence my cleanse and claim this ground” should read “That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground”…? 🙂

  5. Great stuff! One minor nitpick: I think “That innocence my cleanse and claim this ground” should read “That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground”…?

  6. Pingback: Cleansing the Temple | The Centre for Theology & Community

  7. Pingback: A Few of My Favorite Things {August/September 2017} | The Trotter Family

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s