Holy Week, Tuesday: Cleansing the Temple


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.

This sonnet, and the others I will be posting for Holy Week are all drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA . The book is now also out on Kindle. Please feel free to make use of these sonnets in church services and to copy and share them. If you can mention the book from which they are taken that would be great.

I’m grateful to Lancia Smith for the image.

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.



Filed under christianity, Poems

6 responses to “Holy Week, Tuesday: Cleansing the Temple

  1. Thank you, Malcolm, for this. Beautiful and insightful as always. I’m sure I won’t be the only one thinking of Notre Dame this morning as I read it.

  2. Pingback: S2:E15 - Holy Week: Monday, Cleansing the Temple - Matthew Clark

  3. Primrose Northrop

    Dear Malcolm,

    Firstly may I thank you so much for the gift of poetry, through which you so richly bless us. Your poems have accompanied me for many years, shaping in new and unexpected ways the liturgical seasons, plumbing new depths and scaling surprising heights. The second reason for this message, is because I wanted to ask your permission to use your Cleansing of the Temple Sonnet on the 7th of March for the National Church of England Online service? We hope to use it as part of a time of creative intercession, and the imagery evoked by your Sonnet chimes so perfectly with our theme.
    If we do have your permission, that would be marvellous!

    Thank you again for the immense inspiration you share so freely.
    With my prayers and every blessing,

    • malcolmguite

      Dear Primrose
      Thanks for this. Yes you would be welcome to use the poem, thanks for asking. If you could just put a little note somewhere to say that it’s from Sounding the Seasons, Canterbury Press and used with the author’s permission that would be great

  4. Pingback: S3:E12 - Monday: Cleansing the Temple - Matthew Clark

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