Message from the chaplain - 8 September 2017

“Whatever prayer, whatever plea there is from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing the afflictions of their own hearts so that they stretch out their hands toward this house; then hear in heaven your dwelling place, forgive, act, and render to all whose hearts you know — according to all their ways, for only you know what is in every human heart — so that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors.” 1 Kings 8:38-40

These words form part of the beautiful prayer King Solomon prayed, upon the completion of the newly-built temple in Jerusalem, and in the assembly of all Israel. In today’s context the phrase “the fear of God” can have a negative connotation; it may help to substitute “fear” with “awe” in reading the above passage to gain a more accurate understanding of Solomon’s meaning.

I am moved by the intensity of Solomon’s request to God. I am also struck by the vulnerability of individuals’ prayer that he describes, elicited by words such as “plea”, “afflictions of their own hearts”, and the action of stretching out one’s hands to God in making such a plea to God. Solomon lays bare the intimacy that is prayer: individuals bringing what burdens their hearts to a God who knows each heart.

As we welcome one another back for a new term, I pray these words for all of us, the community of St Mary’s School.

Revd Claudia Coustas