So I want to talk to you about David’s call from God.
But first a little housekeeping. Sunday’s sermon is available here. We continue worshiping at Wilmot United Church until the end of July, so come and join the celebration of God as we raise our voices together this weekend. The Rev. Ellen Beairsto will be offering the message and Rev. Richard the Time for the Young and Young at Heart.
Where was I? Oh right, also don’t forget that on Wednesday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. we have made space for parents and their young children to come and play and work out some of that summer energy.
So back to…What was it again? Right! David’s call from God. What were you going to say about it? Oh, I was going to say something? Hmm. Right, I was.
See how easy it can be to lose track of things? We start out intending one thing, then life happens in all sorts of busy ways, we get distracted and before we know it, we’re off course. In the Hebrew Scripture reading, 2 Samuel 7:1-14 we see kind of the same thing happen to David. Does anyone remember what God had originally called David to do?
Well in a previous reading, the people of Israel wanted a King, but it couldn’t be just any old King, or a King that the people were used to having. This one had to be special, because they were to unite the people, to gather the lost, and to watch over them. God knew just what the people needed. A shepherd. In David, God found such a shepherd. And that’s just what God wanted David to do, to watch over the people just like he would watch over his father’s flock. Protect them should they come under attack, and seek out those who have been lost, unite the people. That was David’s call: to be a shepherd.
Then he became King. He does many great things, and does indeed bring unity to his people. And he travels a lot, and everywhere he goes, he bring the Ark. This is often depicted as being a chest filled with the original tablets with the 10 Commandments and the essence of God. That way where ever David when, God’s Spirit was sure to follow. Whenever David came to a city, he would set up a tent for the Ark that the spirit of God might have a decent dwelling place.
Well in this week’s reading, David finds himself resting very comfortably in a great cedar house. He just finished dancing naked before the ark, so he deserves a rest. But as he is reclining, he looks out the window and sees the tent he had set up for the Ark. He starts to feel guilty about his lavish surroundings, and decides that the Ark deserves more suitable surroundings.
But even as David sets about on his mission, God reminds him that a suitable house for the Ark – or for God for that matter – was not what David was called to do. He was called to be a shepherd. That’s what God asked of him, and that’s what the people needed.
We get distracted like David all the time. We focus on a building forgetting that what makes it special isn’t the stonework, stain-glass, or even the organ. The church is the people inside, and when our focus isn’t on them, or God’s children who suffer in the streets close to home or around the world, we’ve lost track of our call just like David.
This is why I am always so excited to share in joint worship with other United Churches. It is a small reminder that we are one, that we can be one as we worship God and serve this world together.
Rev. Richard Bowley