Old Testament Lesson
2 Chronicles 6:32-7:7
We see here the Temple dedicated; we see Solomon offer the praise of his words, through prayer and we see him offer the praise of sacrifice upon the altar. With this sacrifice, the Temple is now open and there is sacred space to worship God.
Now, we know that God didn't live in the Temple, just as we know that God doesn't live in any of our churches. We know that as the Psalmist tells us "heaven is your throne and the earth your footstool." But while God doesn't live only in these places, He is there. And those spaces are places that we have specifically set aside for the worship of God. These spaces are more for us than they are for God. These are spaces that we have said we will come and we will worship.
In our lives, we need these spaces. We need the space of worship in church, but we also need the space of personal reflection, personal prayer, personal time. As busy as we each are, we need to make time for those spaces. We need to encounter God there. If we make space to meet God, we will find Him there, waiting on us.
New Testament Lesson
We see one of the messages that comes forth in James - treat everyone the same. Don't show favoritism. Don't show partiality. Everyone is made in God's image. Don't treat anyone differently than you'd treat anyone else. Those are good lessons and good words for us. We should treat everyone the same. We should remember that everyone we meet each day deserves our respect. Wesley said did not Christ die for all? Thus He loves all. And so should we. Just as Jesus was loving to all, we should seek to do the same, through His grace.
And with the empowerment of His grace, we can do it. Today, and each day, may we treat everyone with respect.
One of the hardest parts to read about the crucifixion is all the abuse that Jesus took. We said above that Jesus treated all with respect. In the passages we read about the crucifixion we see that He was not treated with respect, He was abused, spit upon, and beaten. And yet, on the cross, He prayed for the forgiveness of those that had done this. He did this all out of love. Let us never forget what our Lord suffered. And never let us forget what that shows us about the depth of His love towards us.