Summary: A look at God’s desire to build a church, not of stone or wood, but of flesh and blood.
Concordia Lutheran Church
First Sunday of Christmas - December 27, 2009
HE Shall Build a House for My Name!
† IN JESUS NAME †
May we take the time, to receive the blessings that come from realizing that God has appointed us a place, and planted us here, that we may dwell and rest in His presence and peace…for that is the house He builds for Himself
On my desk lies a dvd, with the picture of a man carrying a log. A fairly simple movie called Joshua, that the catechism class recently watched. They picked out one of the strongest images in the movie, the character rebuilding the burnt out church.
The way he did it, was literally by rebuilding one of the churches in the community, that had burned down. As he was working on it, and other small jobs requiring a master craftsman touch, he rebuilt hearts, and marriages, he reconnected a community that was fragmented and torn, and helped two pastors, one a common man who simply wanted to take people and connect them to God. The other, a scholar pastor, who needed to realize God’s love, before he could realize his dream.
While I enjoyed the story, of what happens when Jesus walks among a town today, the deeper theme of Christ rebuilding the church was actually an observation of the students. An incredible lesson to realize, and indeed, one we need to see, as Psalm 127, written by Solomon, the wise, tells us,
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Ps 127:1 (ESV)
King David, and Nathan his prophet, hear this message from God in today’s Old Testament Lesson as well…. And it is my prayer, that it becomes a major part of our life here at Concordia.
Sometimes it doesn’t work the way we think..
It seemed right to David and Nathan..
Was God not with David? Was that the reason he was wrong?
Our story starts out with an interesting twist. David the King, looking around his incredible cedar palace, feels a bit.. guilty? For he looks out from his palace, and realizes that the ark of the Covenant – the place where God has put His name, is still housed in a big, simple tent.
He calls the prophet to him, and explains the problem, It doesn’t seem right, for this King, whose land finally knows peace, to rest from his struggles, while God has no such place, and the ark, and all the tools of the tabernacle dwell in canvas. The prophet agrees, and the sacred and secular leaders of Israel, conclude that David should build the temple.
I actually kind of like the idea that the prophet and the King need to get their plans adjusted. It is a blatant reminder that neither is “in charge”, that the plans of men, even devout men who want to see God honored and glorified, are subject to God’s will.
The reason I like it? If a prophet of Nathan’s caliber, and a King of David’s faith can go with course corrections, then so can we. We can be corrected, we can see our plans change, and realize that such is God’s guidance, even though it be difficult
God gives a message to Nathan to pass to David…
What is important to God?
Taking the lowly and exalting them
He did it with David,
He’s doing it with His people
Don’t do it… there is no need…
This is God, who chose not to have Joshua or the Judges or Saul build a temple. Instead, God lived among His people with His home being “a tent”. The message is repeated to us, as we contemplate God, having been delivered by Mary, lying not in the first class medical facility in Rome, or even the best in the region in Jerusalem, but in a rough manger, in the barrio of Bethlehem.
There will be time for the temple of Solomon, there will be times and places for grand Cathedrals of stone and glass…and even perhaps, the church on the Corner. But each thing in its time. And building the temple that is not bricks, mortar and wood is the task at hand…
That is the work God delights in …
He did it with David – as He reminds Nathan and David…
“‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth!”