that I might know you as you are, and manifest the image of Christ in this world,
and the world to come. Amen.
Cue the Indiana Jones’ theme music…
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
This is one of those things that often puzzled me: What does God need with a starship, er, tent? Sure, I rationalized it away, but it always seemed a bit, well, primitive.
This time around, though, it makes perfect sense to me because of my fascination with kenosis — that is emptying or hospitality. The idea (courtesy of Henri Nouwen) is that God “made room” for humanity (e.g., created the universe) by withdrawing His manifest presence so we would have room to make our own choices — just like my friends clear out a guest room for me when I visit San Jose overnight. Thus, it is only fitting that we “make room” for God by giving Him His own special place — because only to the extent we empty a place of ourselves is He able to manifest His presence. Which may also explain why God often appears in the wilderness and dreams — places where humanity is only marginally in control.
The various items in the Tabernacle can thus act like ‘picture frames’, helping us to more clearly see God:
* And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
* And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which [are] upon the ark of the testimony,
* And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
* And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.
* And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
I’ll be honest — I don’t quite understand the purpose of all these items. Then again, I don’t quite understand the purpose of all the items my wife buys for our dwelling place. However, I do know that they help create a warm, inviting atmosphere for us to connect with each other and those we care about.
Which is the whole point, right? To manifest God’s glory on earth, as it is in heaven?
And look that thou make [them] after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
God, I want to open up my life, and empty myself of all those things that occlude your presence. Help me to pray, to keep the Sabbath, to set aside devotional time, to read the Bible — all the many disciplines designed to give you room to be yourself in my life. Teach me to make a Tabernacle for you here, after the pattern revealed from above. Amen.
About the Title: