S (Scripture): 2 Chronicles 6:24 If your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, but then they change their hearts, give thanks to your name, and ask for mercy in your presence at this temple, 25 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel. Return them to the land you gave to them and their ancestors.
26 When the sky holds back its rain because Israel has sinned against you, but they then pray concerning this place, give thanks to your name, and turn away from their sin because you have punished them for it, 27 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the best way for them to follow, and send rain on your land that you gave to your people as an inheritance.
O (Observation): Solomon is dedicating the Temple to God. This is the temple David wished to build – for which he even had plans drawn up – but was told NOT to build it…that Solomon was to build it. And when Solomon was anointed king, he asked for one thing: wisdom. And in this prayer of dedication, Solomon shows wisdom.
Solomon knows that God’s people will err. He knows God’s people will drift away from the path. His wisdom is seeking not to excuse God’s people, but rather to make sure that God hears their cries of repentance. That God show mercy when God’s people need it the most.
And when they seek forgiveness, and they are sorry for what they’ve done…when land is returned and the rain comes…these will be signs of God’s mercy.
A (Application): The cycle: receive grace, live, sin, repent, receive grace…repeat. What makes us worthy of grace, if we are stuck in this pattern? Why even attempt to live a life of Christian freedom???
In a word: baptism. Our baptism starts into more than just the pattern listed above. Our baptism starts in us the gift of faith. From this faith we have opportunities to share faith with others, welcoming them into the Way.
Our faith also gives us hope. Even in the midst of our failings, we are all willing to do life without seeing ourselves as the central point around which life revolves. Instead, God dwells in the center of our being, and that drives us to serve God and our neighbor. By doing so, we instill hope and faith in other people.
We make stops along our journey to hear God, hear loved ones, and hear our own heartbeat. We give glory to God for bringing order out of chaos, for bringing peace to us in the midst of our tumultuous lives, for inviting us to live within the body of Christ.
May you reflect on your baptism today to see the many joys and struggles it brings. May you see that God enters those struggles with you. May you seek baptism, if the Christian faith is something new to you.
P (Prayer): Lord, we thank you for listening to us and forgiving us. Guide us. Heal us. Amen.