Tabernacling with God
It was the exodus of the Old Testament that earned the ancient Israelites the description of “pilgrims and sojourners.” They were a semi-nomadic people who lived the life of what Harvey Cox once likened to a floating craps game. They moved from place to place. Even their church was a tent that had to be pitched and taken down repeatedly as they followed the lead of God in the wilderness.
This image figures prominently in the New Testament portrayal of the Incarnation. In John’s Gospel, it is written that the Logos, the divine Word, was “with God” and “was God” from the beginning, and “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The word that is translated here as dwelt literally means “tabernacled” or “pitched His tent” among us.
In this sense, it is Christ who is the ultimate Pilgrim. The Incarnation is the supreme sojourn. Christ left His heavenly home to enter into our pilgrimage in our behalf. His was in solidarity with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I love my homeland. Every time I travel abroad, I am happy to return to America. But the United States is an inn, a resting place in the midst of a higher journey, a road-stop on the way to my true home.
Reflect on this glorious truth: God pitched His tent among us.
Passages for Further Study