Reflections by Rev. Deb Beloved Church
Pastor, White Rock Presbyterian Church
July 27, 2022
“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ [emphasis mine] Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” (Exodus 33:7, NRSV)
The tent you see above is not the “tent of meeting” from Biblical days, but it is most definitely a “tent of meeting” from these days! The tent pictured above is the new tent purchased, owned, and erected by our Navajo sisters and brothers at the House of Fellowship, and is, without a doubt, “a place where the people of [Bread Springs!] can plead their needs before the Lord.” And that is, in fact, what happened on the evening that picture, and those that follow, were taken, the very evening of its dedication, July 27, 2022.
What a privilege it was for me to be able to be there, representing all of you, praising and thanking God as one of the 40-50 gathered, witnessing the profound faith of these our Native brothers and sisters, sharing a very small piece of my own faith journey with them, and having the honor of participating in the service of dedication.
I’ll share bits of the evening, through the pictures (and their captions), and would love to share more with anyone who is interested. All you have to do is ask! :)
1. The “stage”/chancel
This is pretty self-explanatory! This is where all who spoke and shared and prayed and sang, did their speaking and sharing and praying and singing! It’s also where the band played--you can perhaps see a guitar just to the left of the pulpit and a drum set in the far right corner
2. This is Carla (and Fred, behind her, wearing a red stole--and his cowboy hat!), co-pastor with Fred. She led the service, with great enthusiasm and profound faith. It was she who said, “We have prayed for so long for this tent! We have prayed for five years! …We didn’t know it was going to come so soon!” I was inspired by her faith, her knowledge of the scriptures, and her passion!
3. A sampling of those gathered. I was the only bilagáana (Anglo) present.
4. Pastor/Brother Fred preaching. What a beautiful faith he has! What a powerful testimony he gives!
5. And our sister Lorraine, Pastor Fred’s partner in life and ministry. What a beautiful spirit she has! What depth of faith she shows!
Notice in the lower left corner of the picture above, a bottle of oil. This was oil for anointing, and many of us were blessed to be anointed with that oil by Fred. We were anointed, and blessed, and then invited to bless and anoint the tent and everything in it with our touch and our prayers. 5. And our sister Lorraine, Pastor Fred’s partner in life and ministry. What a beautiful spirit she has! What depth of faith she shows!
6. For ~15 minutes people walked all around the tent, touching everything--the tent walls, the tent stakes, the tent poles, the chairs, the instruments, the pulpit, the sound board… everything!--and praying. Praying that God would use those things to bless people. Praying that God would be present in that place and in those “tools.” Praying that each person who sat in those chairs would feel God’s Spirit. Praying as they felt led to pray. It was a very powerful experience; I felt like one small voice in that great cloud of witnesses! And I remember thinking, How can God NOT be present here, with all these prayers? All these people of faith praying? All this calling down of God’s Spirit?
7. And one last one, just for fun. I don’t think this one needs any explanation.
I hope you can see in our faces the joy that was experienced and shared by both of us, in those moments, in that place. And for me there was not only joy, but there was also a healing in my spirit, as I was surrounded by all these brothers and sisters and their deep faith and powerful testimony.
What a gift it was to be able to be present that night, praising and thanking God as one of the many voices gathered, and sharing in the dedication of this particular “tent of meeting.” It is indeed a “location of divine interaction,” a place that offers “a visual representation of the availability [and presence and strength and faithfulness and love!] of God.” And I was so blessed to be there.
Looking forward to going back with more of you in September!
Peace, and God’s Power, be with us all.