Trail Notes

Trail Notes 8/23/2015

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King Solomon built the first great Hebrew temple in Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE, importing lavish materials of gold and cedar. The ark of the covenant – the holiest object in Hebrew religion – was then placed in the inner sanctum of the new temple. Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the new temple is what we hear in today’s reading from I Kings. 

While the temple completed King David’s vision for Jerusalem to become a unifying capital city for the Hebrew tribes, it also introduced new dangers for Hebrew religion. Ironically, what is erected for God’s glory easily becomes an end in itself.  Solomon actually conscripted forced labor from 30,000 Hebrews in order to build the great building – the first time Hebrews had been enslaved since Egypt. The tax burden to support construction, as well as Solomon’s extravagant court, was very heavy. While Solomon proudly hoped that this would be an eternal monument to God, many would say that the seeds of the temple’s subsequent fall (4 centuries later) were planted at the beginning. 

That’s all very interesting, but most of us do not identify with Solomon’s grandiose building projects. Enter Jesus with his simple, pithy teaching about the house built on the rock versus the house built on sand.  Jesus emphasizes the foundation – the basis – upon which we build any edifice, whether it’s a building, an organization, or our own spiritual health. If the foundation is not firm, the rest will crumble. If the church’s one foundation is not Jesus Christ himself, then all that we try to build will be for naught. 

St. Dunstan’s Church is not so much a fancy impressive temple as it is a school of love, a place of hospitality, a haven for children every day. Jesus was concerned about people – that hungry people should be fed, sick people should be cared for, that our spiritual foundations be firmly built on the rock. This fall, we’ll be feeding hungry folks in our city, teaching faith to our children, and serving our neighborhood. We’ll be exploring our faith through scripture and worship and song. We dedicate this place, and ourselves, to Christ’s service in the world, praying, as Solomon did, that God’s “eyes may be open night and day toward this house.”  JBM


 

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