Oh, the Booths!

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the Lord.  On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.  For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

“’These are the appointed feasts of the Lord… for presenting to the Lord offerings… when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast… On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest.  And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days… It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days… that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:33-37,39-43

Celebration that is not ordinary work. Waving branches of splendid trees. Presenting carefully prepared offerings. Remembering and rejoicing. Gladness and joy. What meaningful feasts punctuated the years of God’s people, reminding them whose they were and how they became.

And we are such creatures of the ordinary. Routines and responsibilities order our world, pressing into the hours what are our needs and wants with nary a moment to reflect on how these came to be. Remember the booths? Remember the longing for identity before Christ, the desperation of handling life without Him? Remember the heavy burden of sin and insignificance, and the lovely banner of forgiveness and light He bestowed? Remember the monochrome confusion and disbelief God’s grace broke open into a profusion of color in a new creation? Remember His break-through deliverance into meaningful living, and the early days sheltered in His indescribable love? The trekking through the wind and nettles of early faith when He bid us forward, and on, teaching us how to walk and covering us with His favor? (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Where shall I pause this day? Will I erect a morning watch before the world begins and sun gets in my eyes? Will I take time from busy and frenzy for a quiet moment of waving heart and hands in vibrant thanksgiving? When I stop to eat or sit or close up shop, will I honor the One who provided the means? At end of day, what will be my offering to the One who blessed the hours? (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

Over what habits will I erect my booth of no-turning back repentance? Before whom will I wave my splendid branches of beauty and blessing, in generous outflow from all I’ve received? How will I punctuate my ordinary with glorious praise, to lift high God’s name and the sights of those around me?

Lord, keep me ever blessing Your name for how You’ve provided and where You’ve brought me. May I exult in You forever with loud songs of thanks. (Psalm 28:7)

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