John the one who baptizes is born. In accordance with the Law, the baby is brought before the Lord for dedication. Common practice was to give the child a name which had family roots. When presented and the name John is given, the people complain because there is no ancestry with that name. Yet God had commanded his name would be John. From the very beginning of his life, John forced people to look outside of what was normal. Still there was not doubt among those gathered that John had been set aside for a special purpose in the Lord.
Often we think the Gospel of Jesus only applies to the people we think it should. All throughout human history there is a track record of humans creating a list of those who get in and those who do not. The reality is we do not make that kind of decision. Paul helps the church in Ephesus realize that God does not create some of the boundaries we as humans create. The grace and love of Jesus Christ is available to all. The only boundary that is drawn is drawn by God and it is found in Jesus Christ. All who would confess their sin, repent and follow are accepted by God. The challenge is do we accept them?
The NRSV translation of the Bible uses the word cling twice in the passage to talk about our relationship to God through the scriptures. This is a very graphic image about how tightly we are to hold to God. My middle daughter loves to throw her arms around my neck and hold so tightly to me that I do not even need to hold on to her. That is clinging at its best. Do we hold that tightly to the Scriptures, or to the God who offers them to us?
1 Kings 6-7
The building of the temple has always been a section of scripture that has both fascinated and bored me. Do I really need to know all the exact dimensions of a building that no longer exists? It is not like I am going to go out build another one in the back yard. At the same time it was decided important enough to be included in the body of the Scriptures, so I must ask why it is there. Perhaps it has something to do with God being a God of order. Maybe it is to see if the people would be obedient. I guess there is the possibility that it was Solomon grandstanding more than what God commanded. Remember the first "house" for God was a tent, and it was movable as God moved. A tent is a pretty humble dwelling for the God who created everything. It is not until after the Temple is built that God consents to dwell there. Still there is a condition, that the people, and Solomon must walk in the ways of the Lord. We shall read on to see how this plays out.
Lord we run so fast and often so far, then we hope you will bless our running. Father in heaven, may we first seek you, take on your mind and understanding as best we can, and then run. Forgive us when we have gotten ahead of you, help us to remain in you, clinging to you for all we have. In Jesus Name Amen.