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3 Lent - John 2:13-22

Tiffany France thought her son would receive his diploma this coming June, reports Chris Papst for Fox News Baltimore.

But after four years of high school, France just learned, her 17-year-old must start over.

He’s been moved back to ninth grade.

In four years, he passed three of his 25 classes.

His 0.13 GPA ranks 62nd in his class of 120 – middle of the pack.

France says she didn’t know that until February, Papst continues.

She has three children and works three jobs.

She thought her oldest son was doing well because even though he failed most of his classes, he was being promoted.

No one from the school told France her son was failing and not going to class.

“I feel like they never gave my son an opportunity, like if there was an issue with him, not advancing or not progressing, that they should have contacted me first, three years ago,” said France.

“He's a good kid.

He didn't deserve that.

Where's the mentors?

Where is the help for him?

I hate that this is happening to my child."

"I get angry. There's nothing but frustration," said a City Schools administrator, who

asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

His transcript is not unusual to me.

I've seen many transcripts, many report cards, like this particular student."

"I don't know what to do for him,” France told Project Baltimore.

“Why would he do three more years in school?

He didn't fail, the school failed him.

The school failed at their job.

They failed. They failed, that's the problem here.

They failed. They failed."

When Jesus stepped into the temple, he saw a system that was failing people.

He didn't crack the whip on the sinners seeking forgiveness, or the money changers doing their job, or any of the faithful and flawed individuals doing their religious duty.

The religion itself needed to be killed and born again.

In that system, the temple was the one holy dwelling place of the one holy God, who graciously provided a way for unholy humans to purge their sin and purify themselves, to become righteous enough to be with God.

The way for this to happen was through the proper sacrifice of approved animals.

Because many people could not logistically provide their own approved animal, temple vendors provided the helpful, convenient service of identifying ritually clean animals and selling them right there at the entrance to the temple.

There were also money changers, because most people have Roman coins in their pocket, and Roman coins have the graven image of Caesar claiming to be a god, which violates God's commandment.

That won't do, especially when the whole point is to overcome sin and get right with God, so the money changers provided currency exchange for a very modest fee.

They weren't making a killing on the exchange rate; just enough to cover expenses and keep

people gainfully employed.

The prices were reasonable, and there were smaller animal options available for the poor, and what could be more important for anyone to spend whatever income they have on than

their relationship with God?

It was all very reasonable; just like sixteenth century indulgences.

The problem isn't that we change money.

The problem is that money changes us.

When God makes a way, humanity builds a toll booth.

The history of religion is littered with one example after another of grace exploited for gain, the goodness of God haggled, hoarded, guarded and peddled at a mark-up.

Lest we Lutherans, with our insistence on grace as God's free gift, become smug about ourselves, remember that the young man who shot up the church in Charleston went to an EL