Welcoming the Foreigner

 

In the Old Testament lesson for this week, (I Kings 8:22-43) Solomon prays at the dedication of the temple.  He prays that the eyes of the Lord would be watchful in regard to this house so that He might be ready to listen as His servant Israel prayers toward the place where God Name dwells.

Then he continues with “Likewise.” Likewise, the foreigner who comes from a far country to worship at the temple. Solomon prays God should hear the foreigner.  Thus God’s name will go out to all the peoples of the world and all will know the name of God.

In the Gospel lesson from Luke 7, a foreigner, sent some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his servant.  He is praying toward the living breathing temple of God.  As Jesus neared the man’s house, some of the centurion’s friends arrived with a message.  Jesus shouldn’t trouble himself.  The centurion did not believe he was worthy to have Jesus even come under his roof.  If Jesus would be say the word, his servant would be healed.  When Jesus heard that, he marveled and turning to the crowd commented that he had not found such faith in Israel as this foreigner had.

We can but imagine the celebration that followed the servants healing.  The psalm for the day, 96, commands all of us to sing a new song to the Lord, with lyrics telling of his daily acts of salvation.  “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Truly it is as Solomon declares, “There is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath.”

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