tent of meeting

Exodus 33: Moses pitches a tent a hike away from camp and names it the “tent of meeting”. Pre-tabernacle construction, Moses’ tent of meeting must have been a ragged little thing. Carryable, collapsable, requiring just one-man set-up. A nothing-special little thing—except that the spirit of the living God chose to settle down (of all places) there. My God is full of surprises. He’s the thing that makes a space sacred.

Just before Moses would meet there with his God, he’d summon the anyones and the everyones. An open invite for the disinterested, the seeking, the apathetic, the little, the seasoned, the forgetful, the faithful: you’re all welcome to watch. Then Moses would breathe deep and actually enter into the mystery. The living God as a pillar of cloud descended every time Moses entered the place. The Spirit of God stayed there, settled there—and everyone could see Him! Moses would sit down nothing-special in the sacred space, and they’d all watch with wide eyes as glory touched down. The Spirit of the Lord settled from on high, thick at the entrance of the tent of meeting—and the Israelites were amazed! They couldn’t get enough. From front row to way far back, those pressing in and peeking out—they couldn’t keep their eyes off what they knew had to be infinite, beyond comprehension. They rushed forward, craving an upfront up-close look. They fell facedown, spellbound, speechless. Tasting eternity leaves you like that.

So they worship—because they’re all out of words. They’re welcome to feast on wonder at the fringes of the tent of meeting, because someone invited them to pay attention. The Israelites were forgetful. But they’d just watched with wide eyes—remembered their rescue—as the God who splits seas met them right there in their wild.

Tucked away inside, the Lord speaks to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

There are days when I feel far from the magic, like He’s a selective God and I’m nothing special and He must have chosen everyone else’s tent to encounter. It’s days like these where I’ve placed myself outside the scope of the new covenant. I’ve flipped back the pages of His gospel—rewrote His story minus Grace—and forgotten my own rescue. I’ve forgotten the open-invite magic of the Holy Spirit deposit, forgotten my God is my friend. I’m forgetful too.

When I remember the Real Story—of the open invite, of endless Grace, of the Holy Spirit turning my nothing-special sacred—I pay attention. Whether pressing in or peeking out, I rush forward, craving an upfront up-close look. I see Him! Today’s Spirit of the living God doesn’t rise from this place. He stays here, he settles here—inside our very beings. He’s chosen our nothing-special to inhabit, because we’re His kids, His people, His friends. We too are tents of meeting on the move, promised holy encounters in the midst of ordinary todays. Let’s quit trying to contain our infinite Friend, start inviting our own Israelites to pay attention. Let’s extend Moses’ invitation: you’re all welcome to watch.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. It’s time I start paying attention.

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