By Katie Ammon
At an early age, I was taught the body was a temple that held the spirit. It was confusing when I listened to the story of Jesus getting angry at the money changers in the temple. Was the temple a body or a building?
Then I began to understand that defiling the temple may have been symbolic of the current issue, where sexual abuse is being exposed.
First, having a nonconformist father who wouldn’t allow his children to be vaccinated, used alternative healing methods, raised most of our food and told us to think for ourselves, I had to ponder what he meant when he said your body is the temple that holds your spirit. When I ask him why my grandmother’s neighbor girl was a different color than me, he said that God made many different temples to house spirits. This left me a bit bewildered as I thought temples were buildings, like churches.
Next, I was really perplexed by this story of Jesus driving the money changers from the temple:
When they came to Jerusalem and Jesus went into the temple and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, “Is it not written, my house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11: 15-17)
I couldn’t understand why Jesus was angry, since a temple seems to be a building like a church. The church was always collecting money, so it didn’t make any sense that Jesus was mad. My confusion lessened when I had a sudden enlightening moment, recently.
Finally, I could see Jesus envisioning a future where the “temples” or bodies of the children of the Creator were defiled by the very people who were in positions of trust or power. The outrage he was feeling was the betrayal of the Divine in every man, woman or child who suffered from sexual abuse in two thousand years. When he saw the truth of how mankind would pervert his teachings so only a few would be served in a way that would cause pain and suffering to others, he began to cast them out and overturn their tables.
From not understanding my father’s words about the human body being a temple, to learning a temple is also a building that houses the Creator’s spirit, I began to see that Jesus was trying to teach us to respect both. His ability to know the future caused him to be angry and at times weep for humanities’ failures. The truth of those failures includes the movement that started as a ripple in the 1990’s of grown-ups who were filing lawsuits against the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse they suffered as children, that has now become a wave of women who are expressing their truth about assaults by respected members of businesses, professions and people who hold positions of power. For those who came forward, it took courage, resilience and strength. As time has gone on, it has been called the “Me Too” or “Time is Up” movement and eventually may sweep across the nation as a tidal wave. Perhaps it will be called “Turning the Tables” in the future.