By The Rev. Rick Lord
As he describes the completion of the Temple and closes the story of Solomon’s building campaign, the Chronicler offers a central theological conviction about standing in Covenant relationship with the God of Israel. God will forgive and restore those under judgment when they humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways (7:14) Each of these four verbs will figure prominently in the Chronicler’s evaluations of the kings of Judah as further chapters unfold.
The Psalmist directs his attentive gaze upward to the God who whose “property is always to have mercy.” He reflects the spirit of the Chroniclers four verbs, humbly waiting and watching for mercy in face of the scorn and contempt of the arrogant and proud.
Paul urges his readers to practice unconditional welcome for all in the Christian community and to avoid making judgments on those who observe their faith in ways that seem scrupulous in light of the grace revealed in the life and teaching of Christ. Instead of analyzing the validity of someone else’s spiritual practice, we would do better to serve them so that they don’t stumble according to what their conscience allows. God’s loving reign is not about the food we eat or don’t eat, the words we say or don’t say, but about a distinctive way of being human – a way of deep goodness, deep trust, and deep joy nourished by the Spirit at work within us.
Prayerfully read again 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. Think of a group of people whose relationship with God needs restoring (e.g. your family, your faith community, your workplace). How could you, as a part of these communities, begin to contribute to a restored relationship with God?
O God, I lift my eyes and my heart to you, asking that you would bestow mercy on those with whom I live and work today. Help me to humbly accept those with whom I differ and to do all I can to foster relationships of mutual respect and good will. Amen.
The Rev. Rick Lord is rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia