Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dwell Within Us

By Beth DeCristofaro

(Solomon prayed in the temple) “Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?  If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!  Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God, … Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel  which they offer in this place.  Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”  (1 Kings 27-28, 30)

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”  He responded “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, …  You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.  And you do many such things.”  (Mark 7:5-6, 13)

How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!  Grant me the faith, Lord God, to accept that indeed, you dwell on earth burning within my soul and the souls of all humanity who are your children.  Grant me the grace to be a humble container revealing your presence as a lamp on a lampstand.  Empty me that you may fill me to manifest your glory in the world.  Grant pardon so that I see, hear and acknowledge your presence in others whomever they may be.   

History is replete with people who have decided that they are chosen by God and therefore they possess power and majesty over others.  We don’t find them in the pantheon of Saints.  Solomon, the wise king whose fame spread to Africa knew that the wondrous temple he built could not contain God.  He stood before God in supplication unlike the Pharisees who approached Jesus with arrogance. 

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection brought Him as close to you and me as our own breath.  Undeserving, He loves and fills us.   But we cannot contain or know the fullness of God.   

What is it that people do that stirs my self-righteousness?  When do I inflate my own sense of self at the detriment of another?  At what times do I sound like a Pharisee instead of grateful and awed Solomon?  Recognizing such planks in my own eye gives me the occasion to saw a bit of wood in order to see more clearly and celebrate the movement of God in my life and in the world.

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