Come, bless the Lord,
all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house
of the Lord.
1 Kings 12:20-13:34
When Saul came to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples, they resisted at first because they were afraid of him, not able to believe that he had changed. Once allowed into their group, he had to leave Jerusalem because his interpretations upset some of the regulars. However, the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria grew.Today's Christians still don't agree on everything. Disagreement doesn't always equate division or decline.
Meanwhile, Peter went to Lydda (Lod). In a time and place with no social security, no medicare or medicaid, people who had lost the breadwinner in the family were in real trouble. Yet, faithful Christians stepped in to help.
One of the care givers was Tabitha, a widow. A widow in that time was thought of as someone who wouldn't have had the means to support herself. Yet, this widow was devoted to good works and acts of charity. Luke calls her a disciple, a reminder for us that not all disciples have as their main job preaching.
She died. The other widows were distraught.
Peter, the former fisherman who preaches and heals openly, prayed, then commanded her to get up. She did.
The Christian church of today is still charged with performing acts of charity. We still have faithful disciples who show the love of Christ to those in need.
And we still find ourselves in despair when we lose someone who has been doing most of the work. And God still can fill the need.
Psalm 132 begins by asking the Lord to remember David favorably--in this case, for wanting to build an appropriate place for the Lord to dwell and also appropriate for the people to come to worship.
We can read this reminder as referring specifically to David's establishment of Jerusalem as the capital and the worship center for all the tribes. And we can also read it metaphorically--Israel welcomed being chosen by the Lord and responded in a way that we could call hospitable and respectful.
This psalm then asks the Lord to remember the promise of the covenant with the house of David. Note that the Bible has several references to the covenant's being eternal, here it is described in more conditional terms--"If your sons keep my covenant and my decrees ... their sons also, forevermore, shall sit on your throne."
We who are Christians can remember the promises made to David and we can appropriate many of them for ourselves.
We also can appropriate many of the pledges that David made. We do desire to find a place for the Lord in our lives, a place that may be for us a physical church building, but it is also that place within the hearts of all of us in community.
And we certainly can appropriate the verses praying that our clerics be clothed in righteousness and all of us faithful, clergy and lay, be joyful in the presence of the Lord.
The place that the Lord has chosen to dwell is a place that will receive many blessings.
The first is to feed the poor.
Others include granting salvation to the priests, providing prosperity for David's decendants, and heaping disgrace on his enemies.
Back to the first--feeding the poor.
If we were to assess whether our congregation is providing an appropriate dwelling place for the Lord, should we use as a criteria whether we are feeding the poor?
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their parents.
Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.