Through this 18 months of COVID I have been praying into the invitation God offers for us to really “be and do church differently”. And this morning’s reading from 1 Kings has given me much food for reflection. Here we see Solomon building and dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem, and placing the “Ark of the Covenant” inside. This Ark is the very presence of God, and up until now (since Moses receives this in the wilderness) the Ark has moved around with the people, and been housed in a tent. In her commentary on this text, Dora Mbuwayesango, points out that the Temple becomes “a powerful symbol of God’s presence among the people. It is a place for individual and corporate prayer. It is a place for God’s name to dwell. This is a place where people have a tangible connection to God and God hears and responds to the supplications made at or towards that place” . She is quick to point out that the Temple does NOT replace God, rather it is a place to worship God and experience God’s presence. I believe that this reflection on what our worship space represents is very powerful. It is a reminder that even as God calls us to be aware of the movement of the Spirit in our ordinary and everyday, even as God is not contained in our church building, our worship space is a crucial part of a living relationship with God. So coming back to “being and doing church differently”, we must remain faithful to our inherited mystery and meet God in our common worship space, in our church. I therefore offer you the following meditations taken again from Dora Mbuwayesango: how do we view our church spaces and is the presence of God evident there? Is the purpose of the space clear to all who enter it? How is it a place where forgiveness and reconciliation occur?
As we prepare for the upcoming special services I offer each of you the invitation to reflect on these questions, and find ways to reconnect with the magnificent space God has given us to meet and worship God together in.
Pray for me, I am praying for you.
Reverend Anastasia Huntley
22 August 2021