“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” – Exodus 25:8-9 (NIV)
The Tabernacle was an amazing structure; a house of worship crossed with a mobile army hospital. It combined the ornate and the practical to supply a place of holy confrontation and restoration for the people of Israel. The Tabernacle became the center point for God’s people as they made their self-inflicted journey through 40 years of wilderness. We have gone a different direction in today’s world.
Instead of the house of worship going with us, we go to the house of worship. Our churches, for the most part, have become stationary structures, that anchor us to a certain location and culture. I am not saying that this is innately bad, but if we are not conscious of it, we can miss something very important about worship.
We can still be people of the tabernacle, but a different sort. I am trying to teach my daughters to worship God whenever and wherever they can. Just this past weekend, I was on a family camping trip near a lake in Oregon. It was surrounded by thick pine forests and a large mountain dominated the skyline to the northwest. In the early morning and late evening, the lake would begin to settle from the wind and activity of the day. Into this setting, I walked with my daughters just before sunset.
We sat on the shore, skipped rocks, watched falcons soar through the air and loved each other. In the midst of this God’s presence was strong yet gentle. This was a tabernacle moment, where we had taken a place of worship with us into the wilderness. It was a beautiful and holy moment. We did not sing any songs; the music of the wind and waves and the changing light of the setting sun sang out the power and splendor of God. We did not read any scripture; His word was at home in our hearts and minds. That rocky shore became our sanctuary and we are better for it.
Lord, help me to be open to those tabernacle moments. Help give me eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to understand when your presence and our availability can connect to create a holy moment for my family. Please give me the heart and will of a worshipper. Amen.