Monday, November 14, 2016

Hear in Heaven

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

This is what the Lord said, "Through those who are near me I will show myself holy, and before all the people I will be glorified." - Leviticus 10:3

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all. - Acts 10:36

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 125; 1 Kings 8:17-53; John 14:15-24

The line that catches my attention today is the repeated prayer in Solomon's dedication of the temple in the 1 Kings 8 reading: "Hear in heaven." As grand as the temple is (seven years in construction!), Solomon knows that it could never contain God. Yet God has said, "My name shall be there." This has become a holy place where people can gather, or focus their attention. In the dedication, Solomon lists a number of scenarios where people might need God's help. And he prays that when the people approach the temple to ask for God's help, that God would "hear in heaven" and take action.

It strikes me that in terms of communication between God and humans, just about everything Solomon says here has to do with people speaking and God listening. Maybe it's just the occasion. Maybe it's a blind spot for Solomon himself. Maybe it's human nature. But for any relationship to work well over time, communication has to be good in both directions. We know that as the kings settle in place in Jerusalem, with the temple and the palaces and the city walls, God's voice often comes to prophets who are outsiders, far from the power and comfort of the scene we see in 1 Kings 8.

Today's scene makes me want to be more aware of how I myself speak to God, and whether I'm as open or complete in prayer as I might be. And it definitely makes me want to be more aware of how I listen to God, in whatever way God speaks to me directly or through others. I'm inspired to pray for, and work for, good communication with God, in both directions. May God hear in heaven, and speak a clear word here on earth!

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