These lessons move from the founding and foundations of monarchies to the foundations of worship and the founding of places of worship.
In the first lesson the machinations of monarchy are in the background and the focus is on constructing an edifice in which and with which to worship God. Solomon is a better candidate than David whose hands were bloody with murder, slaughter and rapine. Yet while it was the way of the world, the note about Solomon’s use of forced labor, virtual enslavement for designated periods of time, is an indication of excess. The objection is not so much that persons were deprived of their liberty but that Israelites were deprived of their liberty. This lesson offers an opportunity to reflect on who is labor and whose liberty we value and, where the labor and liberty of women falls in our valuation.
The psalm extols Mount Zion, more specifically the Jerusalem temple, as the holy habitation of God, yet recognizes that God cannot be contained in temple or city walls. The way in which God “dwells” in the temple is the residency of their Name, too holy to be pronounced. The psalm proclaims that the divine Name extends to the ends of the earth in that way God is present everywhere.
And the author of the epistle envisions the constituent elements of humanity, peoples and their identities being demolished and reconstructed into the household of faith, the community that follows and believes in Jesus. In his exuberance he imagines the destruction of Jewish cultural elements like the Torah and its regulations. This is counter to the Jesus of the gospels who said he came not to abolish but to fulfill and, that the Pharisees were right and the Jews should do as they say (in matters of teaching and Torah). This is an important reminder that Christianity is built on the sure foundation of Jewish culture and heritage and it is our moral and ethical responsibility to be respectful in articulating the ways in which our theologies diverge. To call for the destruction of a people in religious and cultural terms is no less a genocide.
The gospel reading offers a pair of temples. The Jerusalem temple and the im/mortal human body of Jesus, the temple of his flesh. Both were subject to disrespect. One he will defend the other he will relinquish. Both will be destroyed. One will be raised.