Thursday 9 October 2014

My Temporary Hut

Leviticus 23: 33 - 43

The Lord said to Moses, Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work. (“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the Lord—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and  in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord.)
 “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

I sat within the walls of our sukkah and squeezed the fruit in to the mouth. The grapefruit juice messed everywhere and I just smiled! The palm trees which made for a great roof, creaked and swayed in the wind. I am sure God knew when we would all be scattered, that celebrating in a small hut of palm trees would be way difficult out here in the Southern Hemisphere. But every year as we celebrate the Feasts of God, I am so excited to reach the Feast of Tabernacles, it is my highlight - my best light, my most delighted light! God told the Israelites to build tiny temporal dwellings and live in them for seven days. In accordance with His will, we build a sukkah and have a wonderful sukkah party with all our friends. There is something so special about building this sukkah and this year I will truly miss it. We have moved and do not have a garden, so there is no place for our palm tree hut here and boy do I miss it.

I miss the joy of sitting in the Sukkah, the joy of eating in it, the joy of staring up and seeing the stars through the makeshift roof. The fact that as I sit in the Sukkah, I am reminded of my own home, my body, this temporal dwelling place. In fact everyday I am present in a sukkah, because as Paul says one day this mortal body will put on immortality and perishable flesh will put on something better - something incorruptible, something free from decay. Boy I miss building, crafting and creating my sukkah. This year the Feast of Tabernacles takes on a different face for me. Usually it is a season of high joy but this year I have walked through a difficult time leading up to this feast. The weight and glory of a wonderful year rests on my flesh. It was a great year, a growing year with many ups and many downs. The past 2 weeks have been difficult - the enemy is never weary and he never lets up. This year the Sukkah I am running in to is the Shadow of Father's Wings. 
I may not get to sit in a physical sukkah but I get to be present in a Spiritual One and right now that is what I need!

To everyone celebrating Sukkot this year, may you be renewed and refreshed in the Love, Joy and Peace of our King! Chag Sameach Sukkot!

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