The 40th Anniversary of the Dedication of the St. Mark’s Church
A Reading from the Book of Genesis (28:10-17)
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
> Jacob took advantage of his father and his brother.
> He was fleeing for his life in the wilderness.
> Jacob has a grand vision.
> A ladder or zigaret (i.e. ramp) leading to heaven.
> Abraham is is grandfather and Isaac his father.
> Jacob receives the same blessing that Abraham received — for the entire world.
> God’s presence with Jacob is also a promise.
> God binds himself to a treacherous fugitive!
> The “non-place” is transformed to a critical place.
> “How awesome is this place – the gate of heaven.”
Hymn 517 in The Hymnal 1982
“How Lovely is Thy
1 How lovely is thy dwelling-place,
O Lord of hosts, to me!
My thirsty soul desires and longs
within thy courts to be;
my very heart and flesh cry out,
O living God, for thee.
2 Beside thine altars, gracious Lord,
the swallows find a nest;
how happy they who dwell with thee
and praise thee without rest,
and happy they whose hearts are set
upon the pilgrim’s quest.
3 They who go through the desert vale
will find it filled with springs,
and they shall climb from height to height
till Zion’s temple rings
with praise to thee, in glory throned,
Lord God, great King of kings.
4 One day within thy courts excels
a thousand spent away;
how happy they who keep thy laws
nor from thy precepts stray,
for thou shalt surely bless all those
who live they words they pray.
> How lovely is they dwelling place.
> Reflects on the dedication of a church.
> Reflects on the first reading.
A Reading from the First Letter of Peter (2:1-5, 9-10)
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
> The early Christians are the real temple of God.
> The image of being the “new temple” after the actual physical temple is destroyed.
> Chosen so you can proclaim the light.
> The people of God build into God’s temple.
> The “non-people” are probably Gentiles.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (21:12-16)
Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?”
> This story is in all four of the Gospels.
> Cleansing of the temple.
> This is one event that determines his enemies will put Jesus to death.
> Prophetic action of Jesus that takes place in one small place inside the temple.
> It is symbolic that God is going to destroy the place and make something new.
> The high priest started this practice to compete with his political opponents.
> The scene later shifts to mercy and compassion.
> There is also a quote from Psalm 8, verse 2 about hearing God’s praises coming from infants.