A tale of two houses

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I remember those days of my childhood when my maternal grandfather came to visit and spend a few days with us. Occasionally he would gaze around our compound of two rectangular buildings facing each other with a dusty courtyard separating them, then he would say – almost lamenting – “this ought to be a big house; I don’t know why it is not happening”. He wasn’t talking about the two structures, but our household, his daughter’s, and the fact that we were still struggling, in poverty.

In the First Reading for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, or Proper 11, Year B (2 Samuel 7: 1-14a) King David expresses his desire to build a house for the Lord. He says, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent”. He was thinking of building a temple of worship for the Lord. But the Lord counters that with this promise: “The Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house”, like my grandfather’s wish.

The foundation of the house the Lord was promising would be “an offspring” of David’s.

The writer of Ephesians 2: 11-22 – the Epistle Reading for this Sunday – reminds us, Gentiles, that before Christ, we were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, with no hope and without God”. Christ has united Jews and Gentiles into one household of God. As he writes, we are “no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”.

Through Christ, we now have hope and peace. Indeed that is what the Gospel Reading from Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56 demonstrates when multitudes flock to Jesus seeking healing.

There is healing in Jesus, there is hope and there is peace as promised in the First Reading.

The question we ask ourselves today is this: Are we still strangers and aliens or do we know for sure that we are joined together in the household of God? Are we finding the healing and the wholeness that is available in Jesus Christ?

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