Yes, distractions bug me. When I’m interrupted it takes me a long time to get refocused and restarted. Distractions are like an eclipse which blocks out my goals and purpose.
Jesus had some serious issues with distractions. In John 2 Jesus unapologetically trashes the Temple courts because of distractions. On the outside the distractions to worship seemed justifiable. People needed to exchange their money to get the Temple coin to buy their sacrificial animals. They needed the animals to worship God. But they were getting extorted by fees and high prices. The ability to worship was diminished. Jesus, with zeal in his heart, dismantles the distractions so people could worship.
This is the same Jesus with the same passion for people that we saw in the wedding at Cana. At Cana, Jesus offers a chance for people to see the grace of God in action. At Cana, we see God who is for people. Maybe in the Temple we see the same grace only in an unexpected form. This grace is powerful, violent, and demanding. The grace of the Temple courts is not cheap grace. It is a grace that demands people have access to God.
When asked about his authority to clear the Temple Jesus responds, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Like the post-resurrection disciples, we know what Jesus meant. But what if there is something more? What if Jesus was also suggesting that he will renew the things which get confused by distractions? What if he is always working to rebuild what we allow to be destroyed?
We easily let ourselves be distracted from worship. We fill our calendars with so much that we don’t have time for daily or corporate worship. The average American now only attends church little more than once each month. Even when we do make it to church we are easily distracted by so much: styles, opinions, lunch plans… These things, and many others, act like those money-changers and their marketplace which can keep us from experiencing the fullness of God in worship.
By his grace, Jesus wants to clear away the things which distract you from experiencing his fullness. He’s got the best wine waiting for you. Jesus isn’t going to settle for distractions. His passion is to remove the stuff that gets in the way of worship.
I love what A.W. Tozer says about distractions. He uses the image of a solar eclipse.
“Now you know that when a thing is eclipsed it doesn’t mean that its light has diminished any, that its glory has anywise diminished. It merely means that there is something between us and that shining frame. When the sun is eclipsed, the sun is not one degree cooler than it was before…It’s still as hot and as big and as powerful and as free as it was before it went into eclipse, because it’s not the sun that’s eclipsed. It’s us that’s eclipsed! And we ought to get that straight.”
For you, what sorts of things or activities are eclipsing God? What is distracting your worship? Is it outward or inward? What do you need Jesus to cleanse for you to worship him more fully and faithfully? By grace, Jesus wants to renew what we’ve allowed to be cluttered and distracted.