Saturday, May 11: 2 Chronicles 1-5
As Solomon takes the throne he takes on the responsibility of building the Temple. Sure, we’ve heard the story in the book of Kings, still its beauty and splendor is captivating. One thing that caught my attention, at least this time through, was the Molten Sea.
Then he made the cast sea; it was round, ten cubits from rim to rim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely. Under it were panels all round, each of ten cubits, surrounding the sea; there were two rows of panels, cast when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the sea was set on them. The hindquarters of each were towards the inside. Its thickness was a handbreadth; its rim was made like the rim of a cup, like the flower of a lily; it held three thousand baths.
2 Chronicles 4:2-5 NRSV
My first observation was, “this thing was huge!!” My second thought was, “One giant swimming pool for the priest!!” Then all the logistical questions started ticking through my mind:
- How did they fill it?
- How did they draw water out of it?
- What was it used for? (I know it was ritual purification, but what else?)
- What happened to it?
- Why the oxen? (This isn’t the first time the image has come up, remember Aaron and the golden calf?) What is the significance?
I’m sure the list could go on, and I am absolutely sure, this was a stunning piece of the liturgical beauty of all things taking place in and round the Temple. Then of course the real reason I was struck by the Molten Sea, are the baptismal connections that we have to our worship today. Granted, the baptismal fonts at most of our churches aren’t nearly as impressive but the gift the bring is.
Baptized into Christ death and resurrection, we are inundated the unending waters of God’s grace. For every sin we commit, the baptismal waters continue to flow and wash them all away. Can you imagine the waters that have flowed over you and me? I can, and perhaps they are enough to fill the Molten Sea, if not that and then some to overflowing.
I think that is ultimately why I was struck by the image of the Molten Sea. Its a visual reminder of the vastness of God’s grace given in baptism!
Our next readings:
Sunday, May 12: 2 Chronicles 6-8
Monday, May 13: 2 Chronicles 9-12
Tuesday, May 14: 2 Chronicles 13-17