1 Kings 8:14-21
King Solomon’s ceremonial speech takes place in the Temple’s main sanctuary. It expresses what should be said at graduations, ordinations, installations, and dedications. Solomon reminds Israel of their history, how the Lord brought them out of Egypt, gave them a covenant, and made his father David ruler over the kingdom.
The Temple is not just a grand building. It changes worship in Israel, making it more centralized, requiring Israelites to travel to Jerusalem a few times a year to offer sacrifices there during annual festivals. Solomon reminds them of their shared history to encourage them to embrace these changes.
President Lincoln did this during the Gettysburg Address. Reminding the country of its shared history, he pointed to the Declaration of Independence to challenge the nation to finish the war and unite so “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Likewise, Martin Luther King, Jr. did this on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, proclaiming that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were a promissory note, documenting a legal relationship between country and citizen, which every American inherits. He brought the crowd to Washington to cash that check and share his dream that one day all children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Creating lasting movements in churches, communities, and nations always involves reaching back to find the core values that make our life together worth living. We must do this to set a course for living into the changes that the future always brings.
How have you kept your most cherished traditions, customs, and values fresh and responsive to the challenges and needs of today’s world?
Lord, make me grateful for all that has made me who I am, and give me courage to change in ways that prepare me for what lies ahead. Amen.