I am currently making my way through the book of 2 Chronicles. In chapter 6 is Solomon’s prayer to God after having built God’s temple (house) in Jerusalem.
The thing that first caught my eye about Solomon’s request was that he was able to include everyone, even “foreigners,” in his request that God hear our prayers, by asking that God not only hear the prayers of those actually at the temple, but also those facing in the direction of the temple. So Solomon transforms his religion into something accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.
Inclusiveness is very important to me. The inclusive message of Jesus resonates so deeply for me, and to find it beginning this far back is exciting.
Here are the verses which describe the concentration of God’s presence in one location:
“…when they pray in the direction of their land which you gave their fathers, and of the city you have chosen, and of the house which I have built to your honor…” 2 Chronicles 6:38
Now, of course, I believe that God’s presence is concentrated within each of our hearts, so that we have only to face inward, that is, pray in the direction of our interior depths, where Christ has a temple and where the Holy Spirit fills us.
But I can see how Solomon with his God given wisdom started humanity down this path of everyone being able to stand in relation to Spirit (direction) to give all people access to Spirit, not just those lucky enough to be part of a certain group worshiping at a certain altar (location).