“In God alone my soul can find rest and peace.
In God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest.
Find its rest and peace.”

Taizé chant

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Solomon stood before the Lord’s altar in front of the entire Israelite assembly and, spreading out his hands toward the sky, he said:

Lord God of Israel, there’s no god like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep the covenant and show loyalty to your servants who walk before you with all their heart.

Listen also to the immigrant who isn’t from your people Israel but who comes from a distant country because of your reputation— because they will hear of your great reputation, your great power, and your outstretched arm. When the immigrant comes and prays toward this temple, then listen from heaven, where you live, and do everything the immigrant asks. Do this so that all the people of the earth may know your reputation and revere you, as your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I have built bears your name.

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43

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It can be difficult to remember that our places of worship exist equally for those who are completely outside the community as they do for the faithful members. It’s impressive that Solomon would be mindful of this as he commemorates the temple in front of the Israelites for whom it was built. He prays that the temple will be a place where even the prayers of non-Israelites are heard so that “all the people of the earth” will know God.

In doing so he reminds the Israelites that this temple isn’t just for them. It is truly for everyone. Even those from foreign countries. Even those who aren’t Jews. Even those who know nothing about it yet.

Is your church a place where everyone is welcome to offer their prayers to God? How might you help others outside your church community to “hear of God’s great reputation?”

Chad Senuta

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God, you are for everyone. Help me to make church a place that welcomes all people to have their prayers answered. And may I live in a way that helps others love and revere you. Amen.

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Go in safety, for you cannot go where God is not.

Go in love, for love alone endures.

And go in peace, for that is God’s gift to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Chad Senuta

Chad Senuta serves as the Associate for Youth and Campus Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. He is passionate about helping young people develop a lifelong friendship with God. He lives in Northfield, Illinois with his wife Lisa and two daughters.

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