Cattle wander. Sheep. Oxen. Doves. Each animal contained and constrained. Obedient. People. Everywhere. Rushing about. All wanting top dollar; highest bids. Each one scrambling, greed rushing through their veins like black poison. Money changers. A little extra here, withholding a mite there. No one will miss it. No one know. Except for the well-lined pockets of slippery fingers.
One hand reaches in, jingling the extra. A wicked smirk. A little security. Selfish hand wrapped around coins…
A whip cracks, piercing the air…
The man startles, ducking; hands flailing, coins scatter. Cuss words. Yelling. He dives greedily after rolling promises, breaking from his reach. Takes cover under a table. Cattle, oxen, sheep… they all charge carelessly; owners flee.
Tables topple with violent force…. the man crawls, bumps his head, stumbles to his feet and flees. Still cussing at the man, whose descent on the lucrative heaven, disrupted and brought utter chaos. Who in all the world would have the gall?
He pauses at the sidelines, looking back… and then he sees Him. He squints in disbelief. It’s the gentle Rabbi, “teacher”, as they call him; those foolish ones who trail after him like lost idiots. The whole irresponsible lot of them, a nuisance.
Children dart out from hiding, snatching coins. “My coins,” he mutters grudgingly, under his breath. “Those bratty little rascals!” The same little ‘bratty ones’ that the teacher defended in one of his teachings, he recalls. Yes, the teacher declared boldly that anyone who dared offend one of them–these bratty little ones–would be better off with a mill stone about their neck and cast into the sea. And something about their angels always being in God’s presence; some warning for the offender and a promise of comfort and care for the little ones, it seemed. Well, didn’t He see them here, now, stealing coins? Were they not asking for a little ‘offence’!? If I could get my hands on them, they’d get it good! But then, there was He, the teacher, the ‘Master’, and what kind of example was He for the children?
“Little brats,” he mumbled one last time, slinking away. It was useless. The whip cracked. dangerously. The cattle, sheep, oxen, and doves; a chorus of confusion.
And above the noise, a voice of authority echoes for eternity, through the land: “This is My Father’s house! And you have made it a den of thieves! You have taken what was not yours!”
The words echo deep in a young man’s soul. “You have taken what was not yours“… They burn the heart of a young woman, “Den of thieves… You have taken what was not yours...” … An old man hobbles away, the words stinging deafened ears… “You have taken what was not yours“… The woman, bent and crooked, led by her grandson, feels her heart splinter in two, til she can’t breathe, “You have taken what was not yours“…
The young man, the young woman, the old man, and the old woman, hunched and blind, see them there, the chorus of little one crying eerily, “You have taken what was not yours“.
Their soul blood cries from the dry ground of devastated hearts, seeking justice. Naked child bones, whose flesh was ripped away in that one selfish moment, lie lifeless…. Without lips, without tongues… they cry. Without tears or eyes… they weep.
But their lifeless hearts begin to warm and soften, with His light, beating as one with the Master’s, at the cry of His voice, “This is my father’s house and you have made it a den of thieves…. You have taken what was not yours, but I will keep my promise… I have not forgotten the children… I will enter this valley of dry bones! I will replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, and bring these bones to life, covering them again with fullness and life. I will rebuild the ruins… I will restore ….”
To be continued….
~ T ~
I will share this interview with Boz Tchividjian, on each of these ‘Forgotten Children’ posts, because it is worth watching. Boz is a man of great wisdom on the topic of sexual abuse. He is a Christian and a former prosecuting lawyer in child abuse cases, who speaks with insight, compassion and offers balance. If ever you find yourself wondering if something is ‘sexual abuse’ or ‘normal curiosity’, have a listen.