Kingdom come is coming, in small yet invasive ways...

Follow along with us as each week we meet for service to those in our neighborhood, common meals, study of Jesus' teachings and how to live them, as well as Sabbath worship at the Buffalo Vineyard City Church .

Thursday, October 7, 2010


What an outdated religious word - tabernacles. THE Tabernacle was literally a tent, God's temporary dwelling place among His people while they were camped out in the wilderness.

God camped out in a tent in the wilderness.

So each fall for the past five years we have too. It's our family's way of remembering the biblical festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). The Hebrew people were called to camp out for a week each year, to remember what God did for them during the Exodus, especially how He provided for them in the wilderness. Its main themes are very similar to those celebrated by Americans during Thanksgiving.

Some in America see Thanksgiving as a time to be "home for the holidays," celebrating with family and friends. Others see it as a time to reach out to those with material needs and include them in the celebration. This same dichotomy exists in the Sukkot celebration.

A common parable told during Sukkot, is one of three poor sojourners. They came upon the sukkah (camp) of a rich family. The sukkah was decked out with expensive decorations, decadent foods, the finest produce of the season, and those celebrating inside wearing the finest fashions. They wanted nothing to do with these filthy poor panhandlers.

So on the three travelers went, until they came upon a modest sukkah. The decorations and food sparse, but the hospitality of those celebrating inside abundant. As they were welcomed to table it was revealed that these three strangers were none other than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! It is said that each year God sends the patriarchs in this way, to remind His people of what the celebration is all about.

It reminds me of the writer of Hebrews (whoever she is) saying: "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Or Jesus saying: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Last year during our Tabernacles retreat, along with our friend Japhet we welcomed his new friend Alexi, who had been in America just weeks. As we ate and celebrated with them around the campfire we learned one was an ethnic Hutu, and the other Tutsi. One had been a refugee his entire life because of the violence of the Tutsi, and the other had is family killed by the Hutu. Yet here at this table of celebration there was forgiveness and friendship. Often when we include those that seem to be without, it is revealed that they actually have so much to offer us.

So, may we entertain strangers and include them in our celebrations, and may we see that they are indeed the most esteemed at our table.

1 comment:

  1. Making time for others in our busy schedule can be a challenge. Too often in my life I fear I have missed out or even worse twarted or delayed God's blessing because of my unwillingness to set aside my agenda and make time for others. Lord make me more willing to make time for others.