It was a chilly October night and hundreds of excited Cub Scouts sat, facing a roaring, crackling campfire. The stars sparkled brilliantly as I my breath wafted skyward and disappeared. Each pack performed a skit, displayed a decorated jack-o-lantern, and then came time for the leaders to don their competitive Halloween costumes. This would be our fifth year attending the Spook-o-ree event at Camp Thunder located in Molena, Georgia.
Like falling dominoes, laughter began to spread down each row of benches. Something was happening down front. A Cub Scout sitting next to me lifted his finger, pointed and said, “Dad, look! That tent has legs!” One of the Cub Masters had taken an old dome tent, cut a hole in the top and floor and was wearing the fully-erected tent as his costume. He unzipped the tent flap and out flew his hands to grasp an unsuspecting Webelo. Talk about hilarious. I believe that silly tent-bearer took first or second place that night.
This incident reminded me of another tent. Would you believe it needed legs too? The Bible called it the Tent of Meeting or the Tabernacle. God commanded Moses to build a sanctuary where He would dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). The Levites would tote the Tabernacle around as the children of Israel wandered in the desert. It was a rectangular enclosure, about 45 feet long by 15 feet wide, surrounded by an Outer Court. Made of two chambers, one was called The Holy Place and the second, the Holy of Holies. What a sight it must have been to gaze upon the pillar of fire and experience the presence of God? Worship so amazing and so divine. Like other Old Testament works of God, the portable sanctuary holds great meaning. This early temple foreshadowed our Savior and the redemptive work He would perform. Just read and study the book of Hebrews.
Fast forward to New Testament times. The Apostle John writes: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14) Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, tells us our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes His abode within us, revealing God’s presence and His redemptive work. This is mind-boggling to think about. Everywhere these legs take me, God goes with me. He walks with me each day. He talks with me. I can bring Him joy or I can grieve Him—quench Him. I can turn to Him at any moment, any second, no priest required, no sacred tent needed. No wonder He can tell us to “pray without ceasing.” This is no metaphor or cute illustration, but a spiritual reality.
God, thank you for your friendship and presence. Thank you that you are changing this body, this soul and this spirit and will someday make it a perfect dwelling. Help me to always live according to this reality.
“…..For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”
2 Corinthians 6:16