Pentecost +12 – Year B
1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
While glad the committee putting the camel of a lectionary together tried to give a bit of context for Solomon's ego-centric prayer beginning at verse 22 (prayed in the presence of all the people), it is revealing that the parts they left in only spoke of the leaders and priests of Israel. Overlooked was verse 2, which begins, "All the people of Israel assembled. . . ." Once again the people are an invisible background against which the history of power and privilege plays.
Even in the midst of a rule-giving prayer there are signs of something larger breaking through. If a foreigner comes and prays, their prayer is to be heard. Ostensibly this shows all the more G*D's glory (that even foreigners will find their way to honoring our god). Deeper than glory is the process of the last coming first and a learning that will be needed all too soon in the annals of history – it is the Israelites who will be strangers in a foreign land and it will be their prayers, as foreigners, that they will pray will be heard.
To hear these little hints ahead of time helps us remember all the people and not just the leaders and priests. They build the groundwork for hearing important information that we will later need. May you remember the presence of the foreigner, know your own foreign-ness, and give direction to G*D as only a foreigner can.