1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43
The passage for today from 1 Kings is one that shows the wideness of God's mercy in the Old Testament. It is seen in the outlook of Solomon, the builder of the temple and the third king of Israel. Solomon is in the temple and lifts his arms outstretched as he offers his prayer to his God, believing God would hear and answer his prayer, first giving praise and then his request. He then goes on to acknowledge that his God was a God who not only heard the prayers of his people, Israel, but of all who offered their prayers to God. To me this acknowledges the fact that God is a God of all people, not just a God for particular denominations or religions. God hears our prayers, wherever they come from. God is not a God who comes to be present with us only when we pray but a God who is always with us. Father Greg Adolph, a Roman Catholic priest, reminded us at a retired pastors' retreat that prayer does not bring God into our presence, but opens us to the presence of our God who is always present
Oh God of creation, God of all the universe, thank you for being ever so present with and in your creation. Help us to see the magnitude of your love and concern for all peoples, and help us to see that those who do not believe just the same as we do, are not foreigners in your sight. Amen.
1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43 (NRSV)
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven.
23 He said, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart."
41 "Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name
42 —for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house,
43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.