I’m a fan of daffodils, a welcome sight after a long No Co winter. I might not notice a stem here, another there. Invariably, however, they surface en masse, a community chorus trumpeting spring.
This year I planted daffodils in my window boxes, for an up-close and personal effect. As my window boxes were bursting into bloom, I was reading about King Solomon’s famed temple. Of the many fascinating details related about its dedication in 2 Chronicles 5-7, one bit struck a chord:
"and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord ..." (2 Chron 5:13)
One hundred and twenty trumpet-playing priests, accompanied by singers, cymbals, harps, and lyres, performed in unison for the temple dedication. No soloists. No special music. Just a heartfelt offering of sweet harmony.
As they played, the glory of the Lord filled the temple like a thick cloud. The priests could not continue for the overwhelming effect. The original show-stopper, then. The Spirit of the living God present among them. Glory, be!
What if a trumpeter or two had been selfish? Grabbed the best mic or hogged the spotlight? Jumped the platform or broke out in a solo? It’s harder to imagine the glory of the Lord descending under those circumstances.
Do you think we miss out on God’s presence because we fumble the unity protocol? Seems likely. Scripture implores us to live in harmony, without divisions. To be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving each other. To be good stewards of God’s grace as we love and serve. I know as well as anyone this is not easily done. Yet I’ve not found any wiggle room in this call.
Fortunately, the temple musicians got it right. All for One and One for all: the glory of the Lord fell on the entire community. Imagine that — and the conversations to follow. “I was there when the cloud of glory filled the temple, the priests stopped in their tracks. We all were! And later, when fire fell from heaven? It was fearsome, consuming every ounce of the sacrifice!” Surely their experiences that day were retold for generations.
What a wonder it must have been, as God came near. How long did it linger? Did the cloud of glory seep out and flow beyond the temple, blessing home and hearth; field and forest? Did joy flood their souls and overflow into the nooks and crannies of everyday life, as they labored over laundry or toiled in the fields? Was there a prolonged season of intense dedication, eager to get to the temple and see what God might do? I have so many questions!
I’m thankful that God’s presence didn’t vaporize once the temple was established. Nor was it destroyed when the Babylonians trashed the temple years later. God only came nearer, dwelling among us as Jesus. Now the Spirit dwells within each of those who believe. How thrilling to consider we will enjoy all the Israelites experienced in the presence of God — and so much more.^ And I will have plenty of time to ask my questions.
Father God, Thank you for equipping each of us for the call to unity through the power of your indwelling Spirit. Forgive my failures! Quell my critical spirit; close my lips before I speak negatively about another who follows You. Help me serve as a good-standing member of my faith community. I want to be an instrument of Your peace. You are so good. I am thankful for Your love, which endures forever!