Monday, March 9, 2015

Preparing the Foundation

I am all over the place this morning as I try to read the scripture and sit in prayer and meditation. There are times in which I feel really connected to God and at peace.  I have a sense of love and almost depth as I spend time in prayer.  And then there are times like today when I am my mind is thinking about yesterday and tomorrow and next week and I cannot concentrate.   But I am here.

The texts are about the temple. 
i Kings 6: 1-4: "In the four hundred year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, i the fourth year of Solomon's  reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord.  The house that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high."....I include this because what is noticeable is the amount of detail in this text about time and preparation.  There is nothing haphazard here - but an intentional building as directed by God.

Psalm 84 - "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord"  I have a strong foundational  memory of my parents' choir at First Presbyterian Chruch West Chester Pennsyvalnie  singing the anthem from Brahm's Requiem that was based on this Psalm.  I can picture my father, in back row center, singing bass and my mother to the left  singing alto . It is all tied together in my mind - God, the church, my family.

1 Corinthians 3: 10-23  Paul writes: According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation and someone else is building on it.  Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.....Do you not know that you are God's temple and God's spirit dwells in you?

I include all of this today to see the movement of the texts that they put together.  The temple is a building, Paul is building a foundation that is a community a church and then the temple is in you.
This dwelling place of God  is a place, a people and a person?  Well, yes.  It is.  I think of the dwelling places of God  in my life - whether it is particular churches, the Chautauqua Amphitheatre or Camp Christian.  Places that are God places for me.  I think about times in community when I experienced the spirit and felt loved and called and inspired.  I think about the times in which the spirit of God was especially real to me - giving me words, or insights, or grace. 

However, in the dailiness of living, there are definitely many days like today which begin not with a sense of a strong foundation - but with shapelessness and ennui.  But the good news is I am here.
And trusting in the routine of morning prayer and the power of the spirit as I give God my time and try to be present and open.

And so, in my retirement I am blessed to be able to have time to ruminate with God's word in the midst of my own inconstant being.  And I trust that this time is part of the foundation that brings strength to my soul and purpose to this day.

I will end today with the serenity prayer in its entirety.  It is one of my favorite prayers.

Serenity Prayer

 God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

And as they say at the end of an AA meeting - Keep coming back!

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