Lent | 3.12.12
I Kings 6:1-4, 21-22
I Corinthians 3:10-23
When I was a kid, my Uncle Steve broke ground on a new house for his growing family. We all felt excited for him. I think he was the first person in our family to build anything new in quite some time. Being so financially strapped that we had to subsist on a diet rich in bologna and Beanie Weenies, my particular family unit couldn’t dream of building a new house, even if we’d wanted to; even still, we were overjoyed for Uncle Steve and Aunt Linda.
There’s something about the kid in me that still gets a thrill at the sight of new buildings, of yellow-colored backhoes and earth-movers, heavy equipment and cranes. I’m always amazed at the way we humans can begin with an empty plot of ground as a canvas and wind up with a beautiful new building painted on the landscape. I never tire of seeing new construction going up—so long as the project isn’t going to be another strip mall or a housing development with a generic name like Windham Farms—no offense to anyone who lives in a place with a name like that; it’s just not my bag, so I hope you’ll forgive me. This past year at Belmont, I’ve watched the enormous hole in the bedrock next to McWhorter Hall begin to fill up and up, and now, like a very slow Jack-in-the-Box, a building is beginning to emerge from the ground, and I know that it too will be beautiful.
As we move through this season of Lent, the lectionary readings today remind us that we are always involved in building spaces. The Psalmist intones, “How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” while in Kings, Solomon is concerned with building The Temple in Jerusalem. As we move to the Corinthians passage, Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is the foundation on which we are to build anything we wish to last.
In Lent, I want to suggest that we build a home for the Lord within our souls in a way that initially seems counterintuitive. Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, asserts, “God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction.” I think the good Meister is onto something here—perhaps during Lent, the best space we can build for the Lord is not an edifice at all but rather a clearing, an empty uncluttered heart.
Assistant Professor of Religion
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf