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 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord our center and our saviour.

Today we are continuing to follow the saga of King David. We’ve spoken of new leadership, we’ve spoken of having God at the center of our lives.  Today our readings deal with matters and concepts that are sure to be coming up for us shortly.  God’s house and discerning God’s will.

Much of David’s life from the time Samuel anointed him until this point has been fighting, running, hiding, faking insanity, conquering and trying to establish his kingdom.  It had been rather hectic.  Even when things went well, as we saw last week with the Ark, it was a big to do.   So, it must have been nice for King David to settle down in his own house and get things sorted. 

You can imagine a parallel with us…not exact obviously, but after a rather hectic time I’m sure that we are all rather eager to ‘settle down in our own house’.  Get back to the building at St. Andrews.  To start afresh and get things going once more. 

So it was that after the Lord had given him rest, King David proposed to build a temple for God.   “I am living in a house of cedar, David says to the prophet Nathan…but the Ark of God stays in a tent.”  You can almost hear King David saying ‘God abiding in a tent? Not in my kingdom! That just isn’t good enough!

And we read Nathan the prophet was all for this and blessed King David saying the ‘Lord is with you’.  But we quickly read that “that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan” and said…more or less…just who do you think you are?!

King David wanted a mighty temple, Nathan wanted a mighty temple.  God did not. “I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day”…have I ever said “why haven’t you built me a house of cedar?”  

God didn’t want a grand and mighty church…a physical house of God…rather God declared that he would make King David and all his descendants  into a house.  The people…not the building, God would build up a House of David, a dynasty, …and a reminder that from that Dynasty came Christ…and that leads down to us.

Now we do know that eventually a temple was built, but at this time and in this place God shut the idea down… the temple would come later on God’s terms. What God reminds King David of is… that the building was never what was needed, never the focus.  God reminds him “I have been moving among all the people of Israel.”  The focus wasn’t the tent, it was the people, it has always been the people. 

The problem is that those same people tend to get side tracked…even Kings, even prophets, even priests.  We get distracted with what WE think is important and forget about what God thinks is important, or even trying to figure out what God thinks is important.

And the way to know what God thinks is important is, yes, to read the scripture…to know the story of God’s relationship with humanity.  But also, to spend time with God.  In worship and in silence.   

In Mark’s gospel we get the most action packed of the gospels, it seems like people are always on the move.  People are always swarming Jesus, apostles are always questioning, there is always something going on.  As Mark describes it “many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat.”

That is certainly something I can relate to.  As we re enter the house of the Lord, as our committees, groups, activities, services, meetings and so much more resume it can be very easy to get caught up in the busyness.  I know for myself between family, household chores, cubs, church work and other obligations I can easily…easily be on the move from 7am to 10 or 11pm.

It makes me frantic, hyper focused and frankly quite cranky.  But worst of all it makes me have to prioritize and far too often I prioritize the wrong thing…and only realize when my son tells me I’ve spent the day working and not playing with him.  I realize…I haven’t played, I haven’t had family time, I haven’t even eaten properly and I certainly haven’t taken time to pray…to spend time with God.  I haven’t taken time to rest, to reconnect. 

In the midst of all these crazy action words in Mark “they hurried.  Rushed about.  Begging him. Having compassion for them.”  In the midst of all this Jesus said to his disciples ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while’.  

Just like King David, the Lord gives us time to rest…it is up to us to ensure we use it well and not fill it with false productivity and temple building.   The temple God is focused on in our readings today is us, God’s people, the community.    As Ephesians puts it… we are the one who are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.  Not the Ark, Not the temple…us…we are the house of God.  And it is up to us to keep the house well maintained. 

Taking time apart to rest and hear what God is say to us, so that when the busyness resumes it is in a direction God calls us to go.  It is in that space apart we learn to hear God’s voice.  It is so tempting to live like Mark’s gospel and hurry to back to ‘normal’…but there is no need to build a temple if God is telling us to rest.  We need to listen.  To embrace the silence in the midst of starting up all the things.   Slowly and together is what we’ve said.  Slowly enough to hear God speaking and together as apostles and disciples.  So that as we rebuilt we build a strong foundation, a foundation of spiritually strong disciples able to both do God work and hear God’s word.

So let us take our time, to pray, to listen, to rest and to learn.  God will build us up in God’s own time, meanwhile we lay our foundation.  Christ as the cornerstone and our faith a strong foundation.  And brick by brick, stone by stone, person by person, disciples, apostles we will be God’s people, hear God’s word and do God’s work.  To Gods own glory.