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  • Writer's pictureHelen Bent

Getting in the Groove (21-07-22)

A Bible Reading: Exodus 26. 1 - 6

“Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. All the curtains are to be the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit.

A Thought This year was my first experience of Groove on the Green, which included putting up the Messy Church marquee on the Friday afternoon. Arriving at our spot on the playing field, we were confronted by a large quantity of metal poles and joints, but it was not easy to tell which was which or which went where. This was not helped by the instructions in the accompanying box, which appeared to be for a different marquee altogether! Some debate followed, but before long Ted Dean and Joan Barratt had figured it all out and the basic structure was laid out on the grass. So far so good.

In no time at all, the frame came together, the canvas was draped over and the basic marquee was up, only to find that the gable ends were now too high off the ground to fix in the two end panels. A bit more quick thinking and the Knight’s pickup was commandeered, giving Ted and David the extra height needed to add in the two end panels. Mission accomplished. Now all that was needed was the furnishings and equipment ready for the action on Saturday afternoon. A huge amount of preparation involving a considerable number of people had come together in order to present the Gospel message to visitors to Groove, particularly those with children.

We spent a hectic but enjoyable Saturday afternoon, telling Open the Book dramatized stories to groups of children and their parents, as a sign of God’s presence in our community. This was a fantastic opportunity to explain to parents and grandparents what we do in school worship. We also had games, craft activities, balloons, and bubbles. And if one vicar squirts the other vicar with a water pistol as part of a drama what is there not to like?! It was great to connect with children we already know from school and Muddy Boots Nursery.

Our Bible reading today is just the beginning of a long, detailed chapter about the tabernacle. (You can read the full story in Exodus 25 – 27) Tabernacle means ‘dwelling place’ in Hebrew. The tabernacle was in effect God’s own marquee, made carefully to his very specific instructions, a kind of portable church, if you like. It was basically a large tent and the first formal place of worship in the Bible, which moved about with the Israelites wherever they went. The tabernacle was a sign of God’s presence, as they wandered in the wilderness. This tent became the focus of worship to help them maintain their relationship with the one true God rather than becoming distracted by other things around them.

Our church in each of our villages is also a symbol of God’s presence among us, where we gather for worship week by week to help us keep that focus. Let us make our worship together a priority, less we too become distracted by other things around us.

A Prayer Almighty God, you are worthy of our worship. May we keep our focus on you that we might bring you the praise and honour that’s due your name. Amen.

'Let us build a house' by Marty Haugen

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