POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

The Loss of Solemnity

Today in studying the account of the construction of Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings 6, I pondered again an interesting description of the building process:
When the house was built, it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the temple while it was being built.
In order to have a construction site not burdened by the raucous sounds of clashing stone and chisels, Solomon had all the work done at the quarry. This construction would go on in a manner suited for such a holy task. Today’s construction sites of whirring nail guns, powerful electric saws, and a cacophony of surrounding traffic and various noise would provide a stark contrast if we were to view the temple construction on a corner down the street. In our contemporary setting there seems to be little time for silence and solemnity. Indeed, our world is full of distractions with little time for the still and quiet reflection that the soul thirsts for. Although, our world has brought an onslaught of distracting forces – beepers, cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, web logs (smile) – the problem of a busy and scattered soul is not new for our day. In the time of the Bible, warfare, famine, pestilence, enemies on every side, political turmoil were par for the course in our sin racked world. Yet, how did they deal with all they faced? The psalmist has much to say:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:7,8 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:2
Oh for some time alone in the silence and solemnity of the presence of God!!! How uncomfortable for us to think of such still and powerful quiet invading our distracted world – but how liberating!
UP now, slight man! flee, for a little while, thy occupations; hide thyself, for a time, from thy disturbing thoughts. Cast aside, now, thy burdensome cares, and put away thy toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God; and rest for a little time in him. Enter the inner chamber of thy mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God, and such as can aid thee in seeking him; close thy door and seek him. Speak now, my whole heart! speak now to God, saying, I seek thy face; thy face, Lord, will I seek (Psalms xxvii. 8). And come thou now, O Lord my God, teach my heart where and how it may seek thee, where and how it may find thee. St. Anselm of Cantebury - The Proslogion, Chapter 1