1 Kings 8: 22-23, 27-30
Mark 7: 1-13
In the Temple of the Lord, All are Crying, Glory!
You might know the story of David, how as a boy he killed a giant with a few stones and a slingshot. How as a young man, a jealous king tried to kill him. How ultimately he became king and ruled with wisdom and courage, sort of. How as king he decided to construct a temple for the glory of God in Jerusalem but that God had other plans. It was not David who would build the Temple, but his son Solomon. And what a temple it must have been!
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a
heart of flesh. (7)
For God is to be found as easily in a pure heart (8) bursting with love, as in a building covered in gold. God is to be found as easily in a broken and contrite heart, (9) as in a building perfumed with incense. God is to be found as easily in a bleeding heart, (10) as in a building soaked with prayer.
Solomon built his Temple, and we come to this chapel today, as some of us do every day, because we know it to be a place of encounter. We have met God here; but so too have we met God here, in our hearts.
These hearts of ours may be quite simple. They may at times be quite hard. They may even be quite fearful, yet God has promised to take these hearts of ours and turn them into hearts of flesh, just as he has promised to hear our prayers, and to heed and forgive.
Solomon’s Temple was one of the wonders of the world, but so too is your heart. Solomon’s Temple was a sight to behold, but so too is your heart. Solomon’s Temple was a sign and seal and sacrament of God’s abiding presence with the people of Israel, but so too is your heart. All you have to do is open it up to God’s love.
Solomon consecrated the Temple in Jerusalem with this prayer:
…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.
May our hearts, like Solomon’s Temple, be so consecrated.
1. I Kings 7 describe the building on Solomon’s Temple. Most scholars date its construction to the mid-10th century BC, or slightly earlier and its destruction to 587 BC.
2. St. Gregory of Tours (c538 – 594) lists Solomon’s Temple as one of the wonders of the world.
3. There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ. – Blaise Pascal, Pensees
4. I Kings 8: 27
5. T.S. Eliot: Four Quartets: Little Gidding
6. 1 Kings 8: 30
7. Ezekiel 36: 26
8. Matthew 5: 8
9. Psalm 51: 17
10. John 19: 34
11. 1 Kings 8: 27 – 30
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