Day 22

Saturday, March 13
Exodus 35-36

"Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord."
Exodus 35:20-21 and 29 (NRSV)


One year after being emancipated from the bondage of slavery, the Hebrew people found themselves agreeing to a partnership to fulfill the purposes of God. God had promised to give them land and make them a nation, set apart. They had not arrived at their promised land and they had yet to experience the breadth of God’s faithfulness. However, God makes a promise within a promise, God would dwell among the people. Moses was given instructions to build a tabernacle or dwelling place for the presence of God. The building of the tabernacle required trust, cooperation, and expertise. We read that the congregation was stirred to freely bring their offerings. Among their many failings throughout the Exodus story, in this moment, before the construction of the tabernacle the people trusted the instructions given to Moses. They were supportive of his leadership and were open, willing, and available to support the vision. The Hebrew people would spend 39 more years, wandering the desert before they arrived where God intended them to be. Still, God was with them through every season of hardship, betrayal, celebration, and victory.

The offerings brought to build the tabernacle make me question my response to our time in this “pandemic” wilderness. Do I trust the vision of our leadership? Am I willingly offering what I have? How does all this suffering and isolation fit into God’s larger story? Then there’s Jesus! Just as God was committed to the promise to dwell among the people, Jesus is faithful to be with us. Because of Easter, there is no tent to pitch, no arc to carry. We can simply be still and relax in His redeeming love. Even now, as you’re reading, He’s in our midst. Always available, always near, always present.

We don’t know when or how this will end and we don’t know when the hope for normalcy will be realized. We can still willingly do our part. We can choose to be encouraged by the things we can control and by the progress we do see. Amen.

Reflection by Jaclyn Belt
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