March 31, 2013

"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes." Isaiah 54:2

As we approach the Alaskan season of outdoor delights, those who enjoy fishing and camping might already be planning the first overnight out-of-doors.  How fortunate we are to be offered the marvels of God's creation:  twilight nights, breezes rippling the leaves, jumping salmon, the rustling of animals in the bushes, the beaver busy in the pond.  We have inherited the same moon and stars that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelled under.
Our patriarch's tents were probably temporary shelters of cloth, supported by poles and ropes - a cruder version of the nylon and aluminum tents of today.  The tabernacle, where the Israelites worshiped God before the building of Solomon's Temple, is referred to as the "tent of meeting". Tents continued to have several uses even after the Israelites settled into villages.  The Rechabites continued to dwell in tents (Jer. 35:7) and armies used tents during military campaigns.  More commonly, the term meant "home, or dwelling".
Isaiah 54:3 continues with, "for you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities."   I want to think that by opening our tent curtains wide, not holding back, and being firm in our faith means to bring Christ to our neighbors, our communities, our world.  Our homes are to be dwellings not just for our comfort and safety, but places of truth and peace, shedding the light of the glory of God through our windows and out our doors.

This afternoon, Easter Sunday, as the sun streams through my windows on Lisburne Avenue, I am inspired to reflect that brightness.  I am reminded that the Psalmist tells us, "Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous; the Lord's right hand has done mighty things!"