Posts Tagged ‘Feast of Booths’

Acts 1:1-3: The Promise

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Promise of Peace: Isaiah 40 – 48

It seems that a half-dozen times or so each year we look at the book of Acts to see how the formation of the church began in those very early days.  At first, the risen Jesus meets with his followers and holds them together with his physical presence.  After his ascension, Jesus holds his church together with the promise of the Father about which they had heard him speak in Luke 24:49, the gift of the Holy Spirit was to come to them on the Feast of the Pentecost.

In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost also called the Feast of Weeks and it is the second of three holy celebrations: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  Passover, of course, celebrates the Hebrew exodus from slavery to a promised land with Moses as their leader and Yahweh providing providential care.  Tabernacles – also called the Feast of Booths – is a joyful celebration in the fall of the year for the harvest gifts of the threshing floor and the wine press at the end of the season.  Celebrants are required to “dwell in booths,” or tents as a commemoration of their desert pilgrimage and God’s protection during their years of wandering.  (Achetemeier 1088)  Pentecost was a celebration of early or first fruits, the yield from the first harvest of the season.  It is fitting, when we think of this, that the Holy Spirit arrives as a first yielding of many gifts to be received by the followers of Christ.  It is fitting that we reflect on all of this today, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, two men whose lives were poured out for the formation of Christ’s church.

Paul writes to a disciple, Timothy:  I . . . am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4)  He writes to the Philippians:  Hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.  In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.  (Philippians 2)

When Jesus asks Peter: Who do you say that I am?  Peter replies: You are the Christ, the son of the living God.  (Matthew 16)  Peter writes: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 2)

The early apostles were present for the first harvest of the church and the work of this reaping is not complete; we continue to labor in this same promise.  Any trials we endure today become tools of our own discipline when we turn our work over to God.  Evidence of fruits from our labor in this vineyard are little miracles that call us to keep faith, that urge us to become one of the living stones in the living temple of Christ.  When we feel ourselves poured out as libations on the altars of our lives, we also know that we are making our exodus to the Promised Land; we too, are precious and chosen children of God; we too, are held by the promise of the Father. 

Image from: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 1088. Print.

Written on June 29, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on The Promise of Peace in Isaiah, click on the image above or go to: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

For more on the Feast of Booths go to: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14185-tabernacles-feast-ofor http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm

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Ezekiel 45The Sacred

Thursday, January 10, 2019


I am wondering how our days and nights might change if we were to set aside a portion of land as a sacred tract When we read about the size of this apportionment we realize that it is not meant to be small; rather, the territory is to have significant dimensions.  The prince is to have a portion alongside as are the people – the whole house of Israel.  We can imagine that in this vision of Ezekiel’s we see how the plan provides enough land for all . . . so that the princes of Israel will no longer oppress my people, says the Lord God, but will leave the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes.  In this vision of the New Jerusalem there is equal access to resources.  Can we imagine how that might look?

I am wondering how our weeks and years might change if we were to use honest weights and measures in our interactions with one another.  When we read about the Lord God’s opinion on this subject we can see that, of course, he is quite aware of the human tendency to hoard and store up . . . even at the expense of others.  Enough you princes of Israel!  Put away violence and oppression, and do what is right and just!  Stop evicting my people! Says the Lord God.  You shall have honest scales, an honest ephah and an honest liquid measure.  In this description of the New Jerusalem there is honesty.  Can we imagine how that might feel?

I am wondering how our future might change if we all agreed to remember God’s covenant and providence by celebrating memories of the good God has brought to our lives.  Thus says the Lord God: On the first day of the first month . . . you shall remember and celebrate the Passover . . . you shall make offerings to remember my goodness and patience.  When we worship God well we indicate that we understand our proper relationship with him and all of creation.  We demonstrate our appreciation for our place in God’s story; we express our desire to fulfill our role as God’s adopted children.  In this description of the New Temple there is reverence and balance.  Can we imagine how that might soften hearts and un-bend stiff necks?

Ezekiel tells us what the Lord God says as he describes the vibrant details of a life he wishes for all of us.  There is no mistaking the qualities of sacred living.  In this and in the following chapters we are told what to expect so that there will be no surprises.  When we live with God we live in a sacred space.  When we act in God we act with integrity.   When we worship God we give our problems and anxieties over to him, and we fully trust that the Lord God has the common good in mind.

A Booth or Sekkakh

The Feast of Booths is to be celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, making offerings and holocausts to the Lord God.  This feast of remembering asks us to keep in mind that . . .

In the immensity of God’s heart there is a home for each of us.  Let us take the time to provide a sacred tract within our own hearts for the Lord God to inhabit and make his own

In the infinity of God’s mind there is a plan for each of us.  Let us make ourselves as honest and constant as possible so that the Lord God will recognize us as his own. 

In the eternity of God’s love there is deliverance for each of us.  Let us make the offering of ourselves to the Lord God and prepare to recognize him as the redeemer of our souls. 

Let us prepare to live a life that is dedicated to the sacred. 

A re-post from January 10, 2012.

Images from: http://bible-truth.org/Feasts-Tabernacles.html and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/55408-nof1.jpg and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/z_page-8-weights-011.jpg

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