This week we hear Jesus talking to his disciples while standing outside of the great temple in Jerusalem, boldly predicting that even this beautiful, opulent, rigid structure would some day come crashing to the ground. And this would have been a painful prediction to hear for the disciples. The temple in Jerusalem was the epicenter of the Jewish faith in the 1st century. There were many annual pilgrimages there for various feasts throughout the Jewish calendar. It symbolized the continuity of the Jewish community even through times of oppression and hardship. And, of course, Jesus isn't making this prediction in a vacuum. He has this interaction with the disciples only after witnessing a poor widow give her last two cents to the temple offering while rich temple leaders gave only from what they didn't need. He was witnessing the wealth gap at work, and a wealth gap playing out within the Jewish tradition that he loved. A tradition Jesus loved, and one he knew taught the importance of taking care of the poor, oppressed, and the stranger. Jesus witnessed first hand the way this rigid structure, with it hierarchy and power dynamics, was no longer doing what the tradition required it to do. It was only then that he realized it needed to be deconstructed in order to be build back in a way that serves all people's thriving. Where do you see institutions losing sight of their stated purpose in the world, and instead only living to serve themselves. Which institutions, religious or otherwise, are reinforcing the wealth gap, rather than working for greater equity? How can you take part in reforming these beloved institutions today?
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