Saturday, 21 February 2015

God Pitches Her Tent in the Midst of Us

I waited patiently upon the Lord; *

he stooped to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1)

The Diocese of Huron has made a booklet of Lenten Devotions available; 15 Minutes with God based on the Psalms.  The devotion for today is based on Psalm 40.  Reading it over, verse 1 jumped out and grabbed me—specifically the phrase ‘he stooped to me’. 

This resonated with me as it is a variation on a phrase (or perhaps I should say concept) that I have been engaged with since my last Spiritual Direction session—`God pitched her tent among us`.  That passage is connected with a photo on the wall of the office where I had my session.  I won`t go into the background about how the picture came to be in the office.  However, my Spiritual Director offered to lend the picture to me and it now (temporarily) hangs on the wall of my office where I am writing this.  Below is a photo of the picture on my office wall.

The phrase ‘God came and pitched Her tent with us, beside us, among us is a variation on the translation of the passage from the Gospel of John 1: 14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us”.  I am not a good enough biblical language scholar by any stretch of the imagination to comment on the validity of the translation.  However, from the little research I have done on line it appears to have some validity.  The feminine aspect of God is of course controversial and a don`t want to dwell on that here.  But it appears from what I can find that the Word became ‘flesh’ (sarx σάρξ) is feminine.  Also the translation of the Greek ‘lived among us’ is more directly ‘booths in us’ as in booths or tabernacles so tent would be appropriate.  This brief exploration of semantics on my part opens up some possibilities in looking at the passage.  One commentary by Anna Woofenden notes, “God established a residence that moves, that is transient, that accompanies, that’s every changing.”  

The idea of God (masculine or feminine) stooping to dwell with us, beside us, among us and in us presents a wonderful possibility and assurance that God is always with us.  God`s presence will travel with us as God travelled with the Israelites in the wilderness and did reside with them in a tabernacle—a tent that travelled with them.  May God stoop to pitch Her/His tent with us, beside us, among us and in you each and every day of your life.  Blessings

God Pitches Her Tent in the Midst of Us