1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.
This morning we wish to join our voices together in thanks and praise to God for His goodness to us – especially in bringing us into this new facility. We welcome those of you who are visiting with us this morning. There are many hands, many hearts, many minds, and many backs that joined together to make this purchase and move a possibility. But were it not for God’s favor and kindness, none of this labor would have borne any fruit. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it. So it is fitting that we join in giving thanks and praise to God and that we dedicate this building to His service and glory.
Millennia ago, when Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem, he prayed that God would listen and give heed to His people as they prayed towards the Temple in Jerusalem. His words have shaped our service of dedication today. Yet we live at a different time than Solomon. In the new covenant, we no longer pray to a central sanctuary in Jerusalem; we pray to the Living Temple of God, Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus’ Name that we seek God’s favor and forgiveness. So as we come into God’s presence today, we adapt the words of Solomon to the New Covenant era when God has raised up Jesus as Lord over all. And even as Solomon knelt in prayer at the dedication of the Temple, I would invite you to kneel as we seek the Lord’s mercy in the Name of Jesus.
Kneeling, let us beseech the Lord’s forgiveness: (Based on 1 Kings 8:22–53)
Minister: LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.
People: Let us praise the Lord forever, and give thanks to the God of gods.
M: LORD God of Israel, you have kept what You promised Your servant David, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel.’
P: You have raised up Jesus, Son of David and Son of God, to be Ruler over all the Kings of the earth.
M: But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.
P: Yet you took on human flesh in Jesus, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, the Word of God who tabernacled among us.
M: So regard the prayer of Your servants and our supplication, O LORD our God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which we are praying before You today: that Your eyes may be open toward us night and day,
P: For here in this building we would worship Jesus, the One who bears Your Name, and in whose Name we come into Your presence.
M: Hear in heaven Your dwelling place;
P: and when You hear, forgive.
M: When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when our enemy besieges us in the land of our cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your Church, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward Your Christ:
P: Then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), that we may fear You all the days of our lives.
M: Moreover, concerning an unbeliever, who is not of Your Church, but who comes to this place for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward Your Christ;
P: Then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the unbeliever calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as does Your Church, and that they may know that Jesus is Your Chosen King.
M: When we sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with us and deliver us to our enemy, yet when we come to ourselves, and repent, and make supplication to You in the Name of Jesus, saying,
P: ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness,’
M: And when we return to You with all our heart and with all our soul, and pray to You through Your Son Jesus;
P: Then hear in heaven Your dwelling place our prayer and our supplication, and maintain our cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You; and grant us compassion before those who have conquered us, that they may have compassion on us (for we are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You delivered through the death and resurrection of Jesus). Amen.