52 Weeks at the Table – Week 23
The where of worship. There was something of a choice when Solomon began to reign. His father David had brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem to reside in a tent … but it seemed to be more of a good-luck charm or trophy or sign of God’s power than a place of worship. So Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice a thousand bulls on the altar before Moses’ ancient tabernacle, which had been moved there – closer to Jerusalem – after its sojourn at Shiloh of Samaria. His sacrifices so pleased God that He told Solomon to ask whatever he wanted. Solomon had the wisdom to ask for more wisdom, and God gave it to him in abundance. And more. Because Solomon had asked for wisdom to rule Israel well, rather than wealth or power or the death of his enemies or long life, God gave him much more.
Then Solomon found in his heart his father’s dream to build a temple for the Name of the Lord in Jerusalem. He hired the best foreign skill he could find, and as payment, offered Hiram, the King of Tyre, tens of thousands of gallons of wine and tens of thousands of bushels of wheat for bread.
Hundreds of years later, the mid-day meal for Jesus and His followers was not intended to be bread and wine, but meat and water. The disciples had gone into town at Sychar of Samaria – practically on top of the old tabernacle’s site – to buy food, and Jesus asked a woman at a well if she would draw Him the water. They spoke of prejudice, of sin, of water He could provide from an inexhaustible source toward inextinguishable life. And they spoke of where to worship, a quarrel between their two cultures. Jesus told her it was no longer a question of where, but of how.
A Prayer Over the Bread
Provident Father, when we reflect on the hundreds of years during which fellow believers have consumed these emblems of Your Son’s body and blood, we think also of the millions of bushels and gallons You have supplied simply that we might not forget Your most precious Gift of all. May we share this bread now with a faith than spans generations, encompasses multitudes of souls, and reaches toward Your eternity purchased by Jesus for His body; His church. Amen.
A Prayer Over the Cup
Holy One of Eternity, You are wherever we go and Your presence makes that ground holy. You have freed us to worship wherever we might be and in whatever moment, asking only that our hearts and minds be attuned to Your truth through Your Spirit. May each moment and each place of our lives be filled with worship for Your promise of endless life, bought by Christ’s blood, revered in this cup. Amen.