This important verse from the book of Exodus has relevance for our lives amidst the Coronavirus crisis:
“And everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all of its service, and for the sacred garments.” (Ex. 35:21)
It’s been a difficult week for so many. It was difficult preserving good energy and an uplifting spirit. There have been ups and downs, fears and much silence. If there’s one feeling that I especially like, that typically accompanies me on a daily basis, it’s the feeling of freedom. However, this week, I felt the opposite; I felt trapped.
As I’m writing and pondering on this verse, I feel this sense of freedom dwelling inside me. I have come to understand that freedom is something that I must be proactive in creating every day.
Therefore, upon waking up in the morning I went out to run in the fresh air that today feels like a luxury. I ran along the outskirts of our village, soaked from the refreshing rainfall with the smell of the rich soil permeating my nostrils. The run was refreshing and once again I felt intertwined with the universe and reconnected with myself.
I then sat down to read the verse from Exodus. I approached it with an open mind, hoping to try and understand what it is trying to convey to me and how it’s connected with the current reality that we all find ourselves in at this time. Interestingly, it speaks about building the Tabernacle, which can be readily compared to creation.
There are a lot of mixed feelings in this uncertain season—feelings of finality and the beginning of something new and unknown. Perhaps, we’ve been blessed with a rare opportunity to form and shape the world anew. Maybe it’s a unique and opportune time for deep self-reflection. See this as a necessary step in order to assure that this new “Tabernacle” or world will be accessible, unifying and full of hope ensuring that no one is left outside.
Everyone can complete this important task according to their unique capabilities and needs. This is similar to what takes place in the construction of the Tabernacle as found in Exodus. Therefore, every individual can contribute according to his or her abilities and skill set. Some will be able to give more and some less. As in the Bible, some will supply trees, some iron and others silver and bronze. This is how the Tabernacle will be built.
The Tabernacle will belong to all people and it will reflect the collective desires and generosity of its contributors. It is amazing that all can take part and that the final product serves all people—this is creation. It’s important to remember that the Bible speaks of both men and women contributing to the building of the Tabernacle. This is especially pertinent for today’s reality because this new world that we are creating will be done at the hands of both sexes.
Another important point that needs to be made concerns the biblical commandment not to make idols. In the previous passage that was mentioned, the story of the golden calf was included. This idol steered the people away from truth and from living a life of holiness. We must never forget to cease our own idol worshipping in the new world we are creating. That includes idols such as our careers and social acceptance.
These passages tell us to come close to our authentic selves and to the presence of God; to come to a place in which we are our complete selves, vulnerable and not hiding behind the different masks that we put on.