Monday, April 18, 2022
Is God Here With Us, Buried Under the Snow?
Is God Out There, Far Beyond Our Horizons?
1 Kings 8:27-31
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there”, that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays towards this place. Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
Words of Grace For Today
Since the beginning of time humans have asked questions about God, and the questions keep coming up again for each generation of people who think and care, and hope.
David wanted to build God a temple, after he’d built himself a palace and a kingdom, by his sword, his wits, his charm and his faith in God (and his trust of God’s faith in him.)
God says no thanks, I do not live contained in a ‘house.’
Solomon inherits the kingdom from his father and commences to build a temple for God and asks the question God had answered for David: Will God live on earth? And he answers the obvious that God is too great to be contained in any temple.
Solomon goes on, in his dedication speech-prayer, to tell the people that the temple is for them (not to contain God). The temple will give them a place, given God’s name, to which they can direct their prayers. Solomon prays-begs God to honour the temple and the prayers given there and in it’s direction; Solomon asks God to hear the prayers,
to hear all the people’s prayers and
Nothing more than forgive.
An old pastor (now I am older than he was when he said it) about to retire said to his friends gathered around at their annual card game and scotch sharing time, ‘I pray that I did not hurt anyone [in doing my ministry – in congregations and in prisons.]’
We begin each service, and each honest prayer to God, by asking for forgiveness.
Because God is good, and gracious, and generous, and
we are miserable sinners, always no matter what we try to become, we always remain miserable sinners (or actually we are very good at sinning, so maybe we are such good sinners that it makes us miserable people?)
Our relationship to God, God’s good creation, all other people, and even to ourselves, starts there: us miserable sinners, God greater than anything can contain, and we approach God trusting, like David, in God’s faith in us.
That is hardly the end of it.
For Jesus comes to live as one of us, heals and inspires us all, dies for us, swaps out our pasts for his future to give us renewed life, and then
then Jesus sends us out.
Often we become so afraid of the what others will do to us, for we are different. Like the disciples we hide. We may have boldly hoped that God would make our world different, better, just, honourable, livable, and then we run smack dab into the evil of others trying to do us an early death or more. So we hide.
Jesus comes and does not make us safe.
Jesus comes and does not tell us we have no reason to fear.
Jesus comes and does not make us so powerful no one will dare harm us.
Jesus comes and offers us the most precious thing, Peace.
Even caught up in very honest and realistic fears that make us wonder if we will live yet one more day, even there in that turmoil, Jesus comes and offers us Peace.
That’s something, like forgiveness, that given our miserable state of affairs, only God can give to us.
so we humbly accept yet another precious gift from God,
and turn to face another day filled with miserable sin, ours and other’s focused at us, trying to do us in.
We take up the only posture possible: that of the servant, who on Christ’s behalf, serves all people, even our enemies.