Two Tents


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 62; 145, 2 Samuel 7:1-17, Acts 18:1-11, Mark 8:11-21

A man goes to a psychiatrist. “Doc,” he says, “you gotta help me. I can’t sleep. One night I dream I’m a wigwam, and the next night I dream I’m a tepee.” The psychiatrist thinks for a minute and then she says: “I think the problem is you’re two tents.”

Tents figure prominently in two of today’s readings. In Acts, we learn that Paul was a tentmaker by trade – though the word translated as “tentmaker” could also be interpreted as leather worker, tailor, etc. In Samuel, the time has come to plan for a temple, a permanent home for the God of Israel who has been traveling and living in tents for over 400 years.

There’s a subtle but important shift in thinking when our God stops wandering with us and puts down roots. We start to think of the Holy of Holies as a destination where once it was a traveling companion. The rest of the world, while still part of the miraculous creation, loses potential to become a temporary center of our faith.  Church becomes a place we go, rather than an inescapable community we are all called to carry through the wilderness.

Imagine being responsible for hauling God from place to place. Not in a Lost Ark face-melting kind of way, but in the sense of undeniable presence. Would your attitude toward school be different if God was waiting whenever you opened your backpack? What would work be like if unzipping your laptop case filled the room with a holy glow? How would you feel about your purchases at the mall if God got a peek when you opened your wallet?

Church may be a focal point, but God is present in all those places and more: every nook and cranny, every canyon and plain. Everywhere. When we open our doors, our mouths, or our wallets the God we worship can be seen. If what dwells in our hearts doesn’t align with the God who inhabits the world, we’re going to lose some sleep. But when it’s the same tent inside and out, our peace is secured.

Additional Reading:
For thoughts on today’s passage from Mark, see Here’s Your Sign, Curveballs, and So. Much. Bread.

Comfort: God is always with you.

Challenge: Pick one object – like your wallet, briefcase, etc – and for the next week each time you open it take a moment to be aware of the presence of God.

Prayer: God of all creation, I will worship you at all times and in all places. Amen.

Discussion: Where  or when do you most strongly feel the presence of God?

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