Readings for Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 8/26/12:1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43, Psalm 84, Ephesians 6:10-20, John 6:56-69
1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43
- :11 "so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD." - Great imagery. Sometimes I think we feel something similar as pastors - so overwhelmed by God or underwhelmed by ourselves that we find it hard to be pastors.
- This passage makes me think about public leaders and expressions of faith - in a non church-state society, what kinds of expressions of faith of public leaders are authentic?
- :27 "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!" - Solomon, despite his power and position, still seems to have a good sense about God. We so often want to box God in. Solomon builds a dwelling for God with a proper amount of hesitation.
- foreigners - In the midst of the current conversations about immigration and border control, the biblical witness on treatment of foreigners is pretty clear. Here, Solomon talks about foreigners and residents united by faith.
- "dwelling place" - again, a focus on where God 'lives' or stays. What do you think of as God's dwelling place? Everywhere, sure, but what actual place do you go to and most feel God's presence?
- "happy are those" - this pattern of blessing is the same as the beatitudes that Jesus speaks in the gospels.
- "strength to strength" - like "glory to glory" in 2 Corinthians 13 - God can take what we think we have and transform it into a better version.
- "a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere" - great imagery.
- again, like the psalm, strength is a key word in this passage. What is your strength? How are you strong in God?
- Paul, whether intentionally or not, subverts all these war images (which make me a bit uncomfortable) and turns them into non-violent images so effectively, much like Isaiah's "beating swords into plowshares," only in a more subtle way.
- compare to Colossians 3:12 - more 'clothing' imagery.
- "make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel" - what mixed images - we dare to be bold about something that is still shrouded in mystery. That's how God moves in our lives!
- This text continues with the last week of a month-long series of texts from John 6 that all talk about Jesus and bread and feeding and bread of life and living water, etc., etc.
- abide, remember, means literally to "stay at home" or "remain at home" - an image of being at home, comfortable in God, and vise versa.
- "eats me" - the Greek here is tro^go^, literally "to gnaw", or "to munch" more like an animal would eat than a human.
- "does this offend you?" - A word with mixed meanings. To be offensive can mean being proactive and playing a good game, but it can also mean hurting someone's sensibilities or worse. We usually work hard not to offend. When is offending worth it, necessary, helpful?
- "do you also wish to go away?" Jesus sounds sad, and for once, worried/anxious that his disciples won't stick with him.
- "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life." Peter responds, for once, on target and with such comfort.