When I was at Fernwood Botanical Gardens the other day, I walked inside this tree. I saw the tree from quite far off. The branches were reaching down to the ground forming a kind of tent around the trunk. I immediately went around the outside looking for a break in the branches and a way inside. I found one! Inside it was beautiful. The green leafy branches formed a curtain around a soft dirt floor that was large enough for me to walk around the entire circumference of the trunk. I imagine I could have brought a small Sunday School class of children inside that tree, and we could have sat and marveled at yet another of God’s miraculous feats of creative imagination!
I felt safe under that tree. There was something about the curtain of branches and leaves hiding me from the rest of the world that felt very secure which was a nice feeling in a world that often does not feel secure these days!
In the beginning of John’s gospel, John writes a beautiful poetic prologue to the stories he will tell about Jesus. The prologue is theological in nature, but also artistic as John talks about how the Word of God became flesh… became Jesus. Most of the translations we read in the English, say “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” But in actuality, the Greek says, “The Word became flesh and tented among us.” The Greek word is actually “Tabernacle” and refers to the way God traveled with the Hebrew people when they were wandering in the wilderness in the Sinai peninsula. God had Moses and company build a Tabernacle (fancy tent) for God so God could always be with them on their journey.
I thought about God’s willingness to tent with us, God’s desire to tent among us as I stood under the tent of leaves and branches in that beautiful tree at Fernwood. God’s tent still holds us secure. It’s big enough for all of us, and it goes with us everywhere. Thanks be to God.
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