8/23/2015 9:34:13 AM
A Reflection on 1 Kings: Solomon opens the Temple
Last week, we were at the start of Solomon’s rule. Now, we're at the construction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. We’re skipping over how (and why) Solomon built the temple. Instead, we're watching God entering the sanctuary through through the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark is the large chest that contains the remains of the ten commandments. The commandments were broken when Moses caught the Israelites making a fake god while in the camp. The pieces were gathered up and placed in the ark. The people carried the Ark where ever they went. It went with the army, to to certain families to guard and hold. David strengthened his rule by moving the ark into his capital city. And now, Solomon blesses the Temple by moving the Ark into it.
But moving the Ark into the Temple doesn’t guarantee God’s presence. Even though it looks like God is moving into the Temple, there's no guarantee that would happen. So Solomon says a prayer. He reminds God of the promises God made to David (see 2 Samuel 7). God promised to be present with the people and Solomon reminds God of what God said.
Solomon, however, doesn’t limit his prayer to only the promises God made to David. He expands his prayer above, and beyond, the Jewish faith. The Temple isn’t only for Solomon and Jerusalem. The Temple is for all people, including foreigners, strangers, and people who are different. God’s house is never a house just for one kind of people. God’s house includes all people or else it cannot be called a place where God lives. God is a god for everyone, which is sometimes difficult to put into practice. But when we start limiting who God goes to, God has a habit of going where we won't go. Even this limitless God, who can't be contained by all of heaven, lived a human life with people, good and bad, poor, rich, and unwanted. The incarnation, God-with-Us, will always be ahead of us. Our job is to just catch up.