"Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." (Mark 11:17 NRSV)

How many of you have a special place at home that is all your own? Maybe you have your own room or work space. Maybe there is a place in your garage or storage building. Everyone has some place that is special and private. Did you know that when animals find a special place to live, they claim it as their own territory. Some birds do this by singing. Robins sing a special song that lets other robins know that this is their new home. If we could understand their song, it might sound to us like, "This is my home, stay away!" Other animals, like deer, claim their territory by leaving a smell on the ground, kind of like a perfume. Other animals smell it and know to stay away, that this area belongs to the deer.

In our scripture reading today, we learn that Jesus claimed a certain territory for Himself. He claimed the Temple--which was the church of his time. When Jesus came into the Temple and saw people treating it badly, He threw the people out. Jesus respected the Temple, and He wanted others to respect it, too. You and I have the church. The church is where we gather together to worship God. It is God's territory, and God wants us to make it a place of spiritual renewal.

Dear God, help me to make my church a special place for my spiritual renewal. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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