O God, whose blessed Son came in to the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 236)
Matthew 21:12-22 NLT
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves. He said, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a place of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” The blind and the lame came to him, and he healed them there in the Temple.
The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the little children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But they were indignant and asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’ ” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.
In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs on it, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.
The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”
Then Jesus told them, “I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
We may be shocked at Jesus’ actions. We who have been inoculated by the “gentle Jesus meek and mild” grow uncomfortable when he flips over tables and curses fig trees. Perhaps, sometimes, our discomfort stems from lukewarm hearts. We, like the fig tree, produce a multitude of leaves, but little substance.
“I WOULD THOU WERT COLD OR HOT!”
Some of you say, in your letters, that you will have this whole-heartedness. You say that you have given up all, and that you are consecrating yourself to a life of labour. Now, be HOT. I know you will burn the fingers of the Pharisees. Never mind that. I know you will fire their consciences like Samson’s foxes did the corn. Never mind that. BE HOT. God likes hot saints. Be determined that you will be hot. They will call you a fool; they did Paul. They will call you a fanatic, and say, “This fellow is a troubler of Israel”; but you must reply, “It is not I, but ye and your father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord.” Turn the charge upon them. Hot people are never a trouble to hot people. The hotter we are the nearer we get, and the more we love one another. It is the cold people that are troubled by the hot ones. The Lord help you to be HOT.
—Catherine Booth (1829-1890)