At the Wednesday night Bible Study we’ve been slowly making our way through Exodus. It is a book that covers a lot of territory. First there is the story of Moses – a baby born into a harsh world whose life is preserved by courageous women, a youth who takes action to serve and protect the vulnerable, a young man starting over far from home, an adult whose eyes are open to God’s mystery and whose heart is open to justice, and an older man so full of God’s spirit he’s willing to lead his people into new places and new ways of being. Then there’s a long section full of commandments, rules governing how these people are to act and behave toward God and each other, shaping how they will express God’s vision for God’s people (and for all people). The final section is devoted to the plans for holy space, for the Tabernacle where God will dwell, and the building project which will bring this vision into being.
I have been thinking about the role of place and space in our lives, especially as we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic. The pandemic rearranged things – for many of us that meant we spent a lot more time in our homes and a lot less time (or no time at all) in places and spaces of gathering. We adapted and our homes became the space for everything and our computer screens the portal for connection. Thank God for technology and innovation, for creativity and adaptability. And now, our world is changing yet again. Guidelines are evolving and restrictions are easing. Our kids are back in school and many more will soon have access to the COVID vaccine. We are learning how to return to the fullness of our lives with practices in place to help keep us safe.
What is this season like for you? What are you noticing about the role of place and space in your life these days?
Moses encountered the mystery of God in the wilderness. While wandering alone he saw something unexplainable – a bush on fire that was not consumed – and he heard God speaking to him there. Later in the story, Moses went up the mountain by himself to receive the commandments, to learn about the best ways to help shape his people into the people God called them to be. And, Moses led them in a building project, so they could create space that was set apart as holy space, a place different from home and work (though both home and work can be holy space), a place to remind them who they were, a place to learn how they might reflect God’s love in their interactions with each other, and a place where they could bring their offerings to God.
As St. John’s church, we are a body of people and part of the body of Christ. We are also a place, a holy space for gathering together. How is the spirit inviting us to help shape our emerging world?