August 22, 2021

A servant’s prayer

Passage: 1 Kings 8:  1-11, 22-30, 41-43
Service Type:



Welcome to our worship on line.  Thank you for your continued attendance with us as we worship in this way.  For the next month, we will not be posting any videos of the service.  Our videographer is on a long-delayed vacation, but as soon as that is over we will resume the videos.  Peace be with you all.


Lighting the Christ Candle


Birthdays and Anniversaries

Call to Worship:

How wonderful it is to be in a dwelling place for God!
The refreshing springs of God’s love cleans and restore us.
There is a place here for everyone. No one is turned away.
 The least and the lost; the homeless and hopeless are always welcome in God’s house.
Praise to God who invites and shelters us all.
Praise to God who heals and sends us forth to serve.

Hymn:  ATBS 34 The steadfast love

Prayer of Approach:

Holy One of mystery and power, there is no God like you
in heaven above or on earth below, keeping covenant and steadfast love
with all who walk before you with pure and upright hearts.
Fill our lives with your glory, as you filled the temple with cloud
when Solomon first brought the ark into your holy dwelling place.
As your spirit was present in that cloud, so too may your Spirit be present
in our hearts as we worship you with our whole being.
Guide us, as you guided Solomon so that we too will be people of
prayer who make you known and glorified in all the earth.   Amen.

Prayer of Confession:
WE come today with the prayer of Solomon on our lips, seeking to be faithful in prayer, worship and service.  Seeking to live so that you are glorified.  Unfortunately, our faith in Christ has often been no match for Solomon's prayer. We sing of Christ for all the world, but the world we have in mind is much smaller than the world for which Solomon prayed. It is not the world of "all the peoples of the earth," but only some of them—those of them who think as we think, feel as we feel, worship as we worship, and live as we live.  And so we have neglected the outcast, the sinners and the seekers.

O God, you have made us in your image. Forgive us for remaking the world in ours. You have made Christ the church's one foundation. Forgive us for trying to build it on another. Transform us, O Lord. Grant us the grace so to represent the Christ you have sent that the world might receive your glorious gospel, obey your great c and worship your holy name.


Assurance of Pardon:

Our ongoing life with God is firmly held in Christ who redeems us to be the people God created us to be.  Rest assured in God’s presence and love for you, that he will never fail or abandon you.  God’s love is poured on you, in you, and through you to others, so that in our lives God is glorified, a sign of his grace.

Sharing the Peace:

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

Hymn:  635 Brother, Sister, let me serve you


1 Kings 8:  1-11, 22-30, 41-43

Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, and they brought up the ark of the Lord and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:

“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

25 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

41 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

Sermon:  A Servant’s Prayer

Finally, the day had come.  It was time to dedicate the Temple.

We recall that it was David who wanted to build the Temple, but at that time God said no.  So following David’s death, Solomon undertook the mammoth undertaking of building the temple, and finally many decades later the moment of dedication had come.  Now, at long last, the people had a place to come to worship God.

Scripture tells us:  When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, and they brought up the ark of the Lord and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted. (NIV)

It must have been quite a sight.  The procession of the ark, which was then carefully placed in the holy of holies, out of sight of the people, and even behind a curtain, out of the view of the attending priest.

………There is a real sense that God is holy and fearsome, and to view even the ark, was too much for the hearts and souls of the people to bear.

That this moment was filled with awe was so important.  The priests and the Levites and all the people were gathered around the altar, and there were so many sheep and cattle they could not be recorded or counted.

Imagine the chaos.

The bleating of sheep.

The mooing of cattle.

The overpowering smell of the blood pouring over the altar.

The people jostling for a position so they could present their offering next.

Eagerness.  Noise.  Chaos.

It is beyond imagining, or experiencing.  The closest I can come, was when a friend and I celebrated an Ecumenical Service for 10 days for world justice, in which the instructions in the manual for the communion service were to invite everyone to gather at the communion table.  Everyone at the same time.

The problem was our vision did not extend to how many people would come.  They came up, packed in row after row in the chancel, around the table and behind the table and even down the stairs.  All was good as we passed the bread and people tore it into hunks and it passed around fairly quickly.  But we had only prepared two chalices.  We weren’t prepared for the crowd.  It took a while.  And yet there was a sense of joy, and expectation, patience and yes, justice, as the people worked together to make sure that everyone was included.

Afterward people said that it was good to be reminded that not everything comes at once, and of the principles of justice to which we are called.  Sometimes we need to share our meagre bread and sometimes we needed to wait for the cup to come.    So in the end all was well.

And the noise, confusion and jostling for sacrifices also came to an end.  And into the silence Solomon gathered the people together for prayer.

This time of prayer was a reminder that the place of worship was a place where God was to be honoured and glorified.  The worshipers were gathered to glorify God and as a result, to make his name known throughout the land and the world.

Thus, Solomon began to glorify God acknowledging that God was a God who kept his promises.  Who loved his people.  Who loved to be in the presence of his people.  And God, who had proven to be steadfast in the past, would be steadfast in the future.

Then Solomon acknowledged what we have all learned this year.  That God cannot be confined.  There is no building big enough.  There is no building grand enough.  Even as grand as heaven is, it cannot contain all of God’s glory.

And yet, God’s glory is found in the praises of his people.  Found in what we do and say in worship.  Found in what we do and say in the world.  Found in how we speak of God to those around us, and most importantly how we pray.   God is glorified in us, as all we do and say comes together to show the world that God is indeed glorified.

Solomon’s plea is that God would look with favour on his people, and hear their prayer.  He asked that God would keep his eye on the Temple both day and night, and work in and among the people so that the world would look on and say, God is indeed there. And then the people would come seeking God.

That means that our prayers are effective.

Our prayers, bring God and us into alignment.  Our prayers reveal to us what God’s will for us is.  Our prayers reveal the direction in which the congregation is called to provide its service and justice to the world.  Our prayers do so much.

Yet we can sometimes feel as if our prayers are not effective.  We pray over and over again for our spouse, or our children, or for the lessening of the plight in Ethiopia, or Haiti or Afghanistan.  But with our eyes we don’t see the changes.

That is the point.  If God is faithful to hear our prayers, and faithful to provide us with the desires of our heart; then, as we immerse ourselves into our relationship with him we are called to trust that our prayers are effective, even and especially when we cannot see God’s hand at work.

One of the prayer bloggers that I read from time to time, is Stormy Omartin.  She speaks frequently of the power of the prayers of the faithful.  She also teaches that in order to pray effectively you need to first of all immerse yourself in God.

I first encountered this teaching in the Orders for the Benedictines, where you pray the Psalms daily.  You pray them, you sing them, you chant them, you say them, multiple times through the day-- until they become a part of you.

I have practiced this especially on long road trips, where I play over and over again my favorite hymns and songs.  Things like chants for the road.  Deep speaks to deep, by Butler and Preet.  Numerous selections from the Maranatha group or even the CD from Stephen Noble that I spoke of a while ago.  Played at full volume singing along, and recalling the words of Benedict, “those who sing pray twice.”

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to “soaking”.  She used it on Saturday nights as her time of worship, where she put a series of CD’s into the player, and with the music on full volume lay stretched out on her couch for an hour or two, simply soaking in the presence of God.  So that is what we did that night, she on one couch, me on the other, soaking in the presence of God….sometimes listening, sometimes singing along; but always in the presence of God.

I have to say it was invigorating and energy giving, just like singing along on long road trips keeps my energy up.  But I would never soak at night, I’d be so energized that I would never sleep, but on long road trips, it is the perfect energy boost.

Since that soaking, I have realized even more the spiritual benefit of the prelude.  It is our time to relax and as we prepare to enter into worship.  Sometimes listening.  Sometimes singing, and for those 10 or so  minutes before worship just soaking in the presence of God.

Imagine again, the scene in the Temple, the people still crowded around the altar following the sacrifices.  Most, if not all of them, literally soaked in the blood of the sacrifices of the cows and the lambs.  Soaked in the sacrifices for sin.  Soaked in the sacrifices of praise.  Fully immersed in the presence of God, and not until then does Solomon begin to pray.

God you are great and wonderful.  You hear our prayers, you keep your promises.

Keep your eyes on this place of worship day and night and hear the prayers of your servants.

Hear our prayers and when you hear, forgive.

And for those from a foreign land, those who don’t feel as if they belong, those who are outcasts and sinners, who will hear of your great deeds by the prayers and service that we offer in this place,  hear their prayers and do as they ask, so that you may be glorified not only here, but in the towns, the cities and the country side, even to the ends of the earth.

Do you feel the power of this prayer?

Do you see the breadth of it, the inclusiveness of it? 

We are reminded that this isn’t about us; our worship, our prayers and our service are only for God, and do far more than we can ask or imagine.  There is power in being immersed in God, and praying.

Amos Wilder writes:   “Going to church is like approaching an open volcano where the world is molten and hearts are sifted. The altar is like a rail that spatters sparks, the sanctuary is like the chamber next to an atomic oven: there are invisible rays, and you leave your watch outside.”

You also leave your doubts, your worries, your fears outside.  What happens in worship is only and always for God alone.

The commentators at Ministry Matters write:

Solomon’s prayer of temple dedication begins with a statement of promise that God would give his love. However, for Israel to maintain its favored nation status, it must meet the condition that God laid down—wholehearted devotion to him. This accomplishment would occur if the people walked with him in obedience and trust. The question was not if God would love them, rather would they love God?

That remains the question today.  That is the question that keeps us humble.  Do we love God more than these?  More than anything else?

Are we prepared to fully immerse ourselves in the presence of God, and pray for the fullness of his revelation in us, in this congregation and the world?

If so then let our prayer be:  In my life, Lord, be glorified.  In my words.  In my thoughts.  In my actions.  In my justice.  In my prayers.  In all that I do Lord, be glorified.



Hymn:  585 Christ you called us all to service


Prayers of the People

Eternal God, we thank you for Jesus  who has made us your partners in covenant, and who calls us to faithful prayer. We bless you for the vision with which you have blessed us to be not only your people, but also your servants: for your love given to all, with a full measure for each; for the vision of us as individuals, and the Spirit who calls forth from us a greater love than we imagined; for the vision of the community of believers, whose history of division does not alter the ways in which you unify us in Christ; and for the vision of the world, whose clamor for power does not impede your gifts of justice.

We desire O God to have our prayers be gifts of your love, redemption and justice into this hurting world.

God of salvation, who sent your Son to seek out and save what is lost,
hear our prayers on behalf of those who are lost in our day, receiving these petitions and thanksgivings with your unending compassion.


Sheldon/Marlene, thanks giving
Afghanistan, people safely out
Haiti, recovery earthquake/hurricane
BC, Washington, California, Spain, Turkey, fires
People displaced by fire




Holy Wisdom, you granted Solomon's request for an understanding mind
and the knowledge to discern good from evil.
Fill us with such understanding and knowledge that we may act as instruments
of your loving desire for creation, working with you to transform our conceit into concern for others, our fear into love, our violence into peace, and our brokenness into wholeness.
And then O Lord, bring to us those whom the world neither wants nor loves; and send us to those whom the world neither loves nor wants, that your glory may shine even brighter.


Prayers for the Peace and Prosperity of the Nation:

First responders:  Firefighters, EMS. Police, Search and Rescue.  Difficult times when all are involved in the battle against wildfires. Keep them safe.

We thank you that you have heard our prayers.

God you are great and wonderful.  You hear our prayers, you keep your promises.

Keep your eyes on this place of worship day and night and hear the prayers of your servants.

Hear our prayers and when you hear, forgive.

And for those from a foreign land, those who don’t feel as if they belong, those who are outcasts and sinners, who will hear of your great deeds by the prayers and service that we offer in this place,  hear their prayers and do as they ask, so that you may be glorified not only here, but in the towns, the cities and the country side, even to the ends of the earth.

Redeeming Sustainer, visit your people and pour out your strength and courage upon us, that we may hurry to make you welcome not only in our concern for others, but by serving them generously and faithfully in your name.

Lord’s Prayer:

Hear us as we continue to pray saying:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.   Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.


Doxology:  Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Prayer over the offering:

Gather the gifts of our hands and hearts, our wealth and our labour, O living Spirit.  Use all the gifts we bring as signs of your  glory present here on earth, and  testaments to your intimate life-giving love. Amen


Hymn:  650 He leadeth me



Our life with all that we are and have is not ours to possess,
for it is a trust from God given to each of us to work with as best as we can,
each according to their ability.
May almighty God give you the courage to serve him and people with all that is in you, and may he bless you, and shower you with all the mercy in the fullness of his being the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



Benediction Song:  May the peace of Christ be with you

Online: Take O Take me as I am