In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
We talk about camping a lot in Thunder Bay. By it we mostly mean what other folks in Canada would call cabins in a the woods, or cottages on a lake. Outsiders, foreigners to these parts, hear of people’s camps and envision ramshackle tent structures, no where near as glorious the hallowed halls of the 4077 MASH unit. Little do they know that camps around here can be anything from a humble trapper’s cabin to a multimillion dollar mansion.
Wouldn’t it be great if they could be bigger on the inside? Who would need an RV, or hotel. Just throw your magical Harry Potter, Doctor Who tent—that’s bigger on the inside—into the back of your car. Be sure of course to build into it all the amenities of home, pile in things you don’t have room for at your house or camp. Collapse it all down to a nice small portable package, because its bigger on the inside.
God the Lord, lived in a tent in the days of Moses. A tent where you could be guaranteed God would be. You could meet Him there. His prophet, Moses would bear witness to you there of all He had said.
But now Jesus has come in our flesh, dwelling in it, literally “tenting” in our flesh. His living in our flesh redeemed our flesh from the curse that is upon our flesh. For all who are born of man are subject to the curse upon Adam. They are born with Adam’s sin. It corrupts the tent of your flesh. Sin knocks your tent down in the storms of life. These are not fancy tents we live in. They are ramshackle, makeshift tents, made of weak stuff, received from our parents. They are the best we got. And our best isn’t good enough. Our tents are falling down on us, nor are they so nice to live in some days.
Well, here comes He who made all. And this ramshackle tent city of our world didn’t see the new tent pitched in their midst. We didn’t realize or recognize that once again, here was God tenting in our midst. This God is unpretentious. He does need shock or awe. He trades that in for intimacy and love, being in our midst, with us in our struggles. Thus, we don’t recognize our default concept of god in this God. He is not what we expect.
In Him is light and life. The life of men. Both the life force that sustains us and the life we all want to live. It is in Him. This is one jam packed tent. And yet there is room.
Room for all those who want Him, who crave Him, who hear of Him and say, “Yes!” Who hear the witness of Him and their soul sings. For faith, life, and salvation has been borne in them by this witness. They are renewed, reborn, reset to their factory defaults and made new and improved, better than they were by this God who tents in our flesh. For now they are priests who dwell in this tent, who go in and out and bear witness to the glories of what is in this tent.
That gives us hope. Not a vain wish. A sure and certain promise as real as the flesh our God tented in. As real as your own flesh you pinch with your finger. A promise of eternal life. A life bigger on the inside. Better than you can imagine once you are in it.
He has tented among us. Our flesh and our world are forever different. For we are His, His holy priests, His beloved children.
A blessed Christmas to you.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON