The Season after Pentecost: Proper 16, Year B


Holy Space

  • 1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
  • Psalm 84
  • Ephesians 6:10-20
  • John 6:56-69

Today’s Old Testament readings gives us a sense of the joy and awe of worship in holy space dedicated to the Lord. In the passage from 1 Kings, David’s dream to build a temple becomes a reality. David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem when he conquered that city (1 Samuel 6:1-5); but it was to be left to David’s successor, Solomon, to build a temple to house the Ark (1 Kings 8:12-13).

“Against he backdrop of non-Israelite religions whose temples housed images of the gods and were thought to be the residences of those gods, ancient Israel affirms that Yahweh does not live in Solomon’s temple. Rather, Solomon prays that the ancient promise be fulfilled – that the Lord will choose to allow (God’s) name to dwell in the temple. Thus the temple is a place where that name can be called in prayer, and the Lord will hear the prayer.” John H. Hayes in Preaching Through the Christian Year, Year B: A Comprehensive commentary of the Lectionary (Trinity Press International, 1993).

The mystery, awe, and joy of being in the temple are further evoked in Psalm 84, which is generally considered to be a Pilgrim Psalm. A pilgrimage to the temple is a spiritual as well as a physical journey in which there is great joy as believers travel from “strength to strength” (v. 7), putting full trust in the Lord.

For reflection:

  • Reflect upon the architecture of your church’s sanctuary. How does it glorify God? How does it encourage your prayer and response to God?
  • Where do you commune with God?
  • View the website of the Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts.  How do these images evoke your sense of the holy?
  • Also view the Visual Art that was shown during the daily Eucharists at General Convention 2009, creating a holy space in a large convention center arena.


About Sharon Ely Pearson

Wife, mom, grandmother; author, educator, consultant; trying to make a difference one action at a time. Christian formation has been my vocation for 40+ years - and counting!
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