The High Priest Justifies Himself

The High Priest Justifies His Actions

In ostentatious and flowery language, reflective of the Art World, the High Priest, (Acting Director of the Temple) in Jerusalem speaks to the people, with regard to some of their recent complaints of illegal and profane activities in the sacred Temple precincts.)I really must give credit for the idea of this drama to the Acting Director of the Baltic Centre, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, who sent out exactly such a letter to me and to the people who complained of an indecent sculpture of Jesus, exhibited in his gallery last year.

We are all allowed freedom of expression in this country, but that doesn't make what is wrong right! If we believe so, then we have a duty to say so, for we too have been given freedom of expression. Why don’t we all speak up more?


I wish to respond today, to comments made recently, concerning the Trade and Finance Markets which have been operating in the very grounds of our temple precincts.

Over the last few days we the rulers have been accused, of profaning God’s holy temple and of deliberately setting out to offend people!

Nothing could be further from the truth!

We have sought neither of these things, and are in fact very proud of the sheer effort and hard work that goes on day after day, both on site and behind the scenes. It takes real character and dogged determination to erect and maintain this market, something of which perhaps you are quite unaware, and don’t fully appreciate. We are obviously aware that such practice may cause offence to some! However the work is important, because it presents a challenging perspective to our thoughts on ‘giving’. With this work, we raise funds and strike good deals, albeit to our advantage, but ordinary buyers and sellers get a chance to advertise their wares on a prime selling spot where the people are who very much need their merchandise!

It is widely understood that this contemporary practice is more often about real dialogue and visual commentary, which enables our workers to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions or personal journeys, in their world of trade, rather than providing a purely aesthetic bartering experience, or indeed demonstrating the virtuosity of traditional trade practice. However, contemporary practice of this kind is no less valid, important or thoughtful, for being so, and it continues to make an extraordinary contribution to the understanding of ourselves, our world, and our most Holy Temple. We acknowledge that some of you have argued that nothing obscene or profane must enter this Holy place!

But ask yourselves, ‘Did the Lord not give us good gifts from above and the right of freedom of expression?’ Are we not providing a service to benefit you too?

This temple, rebuilt at huge cost to the taxpayer, over a period of 46 years, will continue to maintain a place for these buyers and sellers, by providing space and support for their contemporary creativity, and we are proud to have them right here in our midst, in the courts of our Lord.

We have sought to be sensitive, and to make people fully aware of the delicacy of temple upkeep and also the need to secure much profit, and we try to advise visitors of its necessity among us. Our traders must be given the space and freedom to go about their work, however obscene, distasteful and disrespectful some people might find it, in the happy spirit of producing only the best sacrifices to be offered before the High altar...

(A loud commotion is heard !!


I say…What on earth is happening?

Stop that man! Who is it? Who does he think he is!

Voice: It’s Jesus

I don’t care if it is Jesus, how dare he! Has he gone mad?

(John 2. 12)

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts, he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at table exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle;he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market.' His disciples remembered that it is written, "Zeal for your house will consume me!"

Comment; Over a period of time, morals slip and things which would once be so shocking to people gradually seem to become 'acceptable'. The temple Jesus visited as a boy had undergone great change, and he was both horrified and shocked at what he saw, so he acted!

There is a story told of a camel who was outside on a cold night, and it wanted to be inside a tent where a man was warming himself by a fire. The camel put one toe in, and the man thought nothing of it. Gradually the camel's foot slipped under the canvas, then its leg, then it other leg and so on. By the time its whole body was in, the man had come to accept it.

So it is with morals or lack of them.