March 18, 2018

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

The People Gave Thanks to God
2 Chronicles 7:1-10

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The chronicler’s account of the dedication of the temple presents an idealized picture of public worship. Even the Lord sends fire from heaven on cue. The whole multitude of Israel worships and gives thanks together. All participants are united, including Yahweh.

To bring these features into harmony is a challenge for churches today. One congregation with a tradition of faith healing brought 30 people with disabilities up to center stage where the pastors prayed over them, but no healing occurred. Disappointment and disillusion resulted.

Solomon led a united Israel. Nowadays, the spirit of unity is often difficult to attain. One Canadian leader stated that Canadians have no unifying traditions except their belief in basic human rights. How then do we celebrate our faith, our heritage, and our church?

One attempt to bring diverse people together is the “messy church” movement,[1] which is concerned for those currently outside the church. By intentionally creating a mini-community where people interact together from the start, members can learn to celebrate their unity in worship and service.

Broadly observed, in Chronicles the emphasis is on Israel’s collective theocracy (a government in which God is acknowledged as the supreme civil ruler with laws interpreted by priests). In the Old Testament, normally Israel sins and needs to repent, whereas in the New Testament individuals sins. No wonder then that the church is up against a strong current of individualism.

Like the chronicler, we may be tempted to take refuge in the glories of the past. But Solomon’s example can also make us feel inadequate. His offering of twenty-two thousand cattle (v. 5) is way out of our price range.

We recognize that royal weddings and state funerals need to be arranged with great care. Yet things will go wrong even in the best-planned celebrations. I think that the angel song had it right (Luke 2:14). Let us (1) give glory to God, (2) strive for peace on earth, and (3) show good will to all.

—Kevin McCabe,

© 2018

1. One description of Messy Church is Lori Basheda’s “Messy Church Brings Celebration, Food, Crafts and Service for Adults and Children,” Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2017,

Kevin McCabe is a writer, teacher, and poet. He was formerly an instructor in Classics at several universities, and has also been the author and editor of two books on Lucy Maud Montgomery and a number of works on the history and literature of the Niagara Peninsula. Kevin is a member of Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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