How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Sukkah

It stood like a transplant from a garden, swathed in color and greenery, with palm branches for a roof, lattices for three of the walls, and four-by-four beams for the frame. Richly patterned curtains like the drapes of a Persian palace, tied at their middle, moved back and forth in the wind at the opening in front. Autumn leaf garlands and a string of paper lanterns hung from the roof beam, mingling with the palm fronds and ringing all four sides of the sukkah.
But that wasn’t all. Inside and outside, fresh fruit, testimony of the harvest, hung among the other decorations and graced the center of the long, sun-dappled table. Embroidered wall-hangings and paintings of the Holy Land adorned the interior lattice walls. Six chairs surrounded the table and a narrow, cushioned daybed reclined at the back of the sukkah.
Soon this little booth would fill with active, breathing life.
It happened as the shadows lengthened: the grassy backyard housing the sukkah suddenly brimmed with people. The family invited their guests to make themselves at home before the festivities of the first evening of Sukkot would begin. There would be prayers, singing, dancing, and feasting. Extra chairs were squeezed into the sukkah, and more strands of lights were hung from the nearby tree as everyone exclaimed over the beautiful booth at the center of it all.
And then it was dusk. The group of a dozen men, women, and children talked and laughed as they found their places, jostling and rattling the table, candlesticks, and glasses. The wind rustled the palms and stirred the leaves and curtains. The paper lanterns glowed like jewels as they mingled with the other outdoor lights to illuminate the celebration.
The host thanked the Lord for this season of joy, and the hostess lit two white candles to show it was a holy time. The group chanted or recited a few prayers and then sang, their voices pure music. A few of the women and children jumped up and danced in the grass and everyone clapped.
Aroma and taste joined the festival atmosphere when the ladies brought out bread, soup, and roasted meat. When everyone had eaten, the adults remained in the sukkah to talk while the children played in the yard. By the time it grew late and a satisfied weariness had crept over the group, they all felt that they had celebrated in the presence of God and participated in the joy and fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom. Sukkot, the great week-long wedding feast of Israel and Yeshua, had begun.

This describes my dream sukkah and my dream Sukkot. Sukkot is the Hebrew word for tabernacles or booths and describes a temporary dwelling. This seven-day Biblical festival is all about rejoicing as we look forward to the time when we will dwell with God!
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” (Rev. 21:3, NKJV)
My Sukkot last week was similar – only we were in a campground in the Ozarks and dwelled in a tiny cabin; others stayed in tents, trailers, and hotel-style rooms. We were all there to worship God, fellowship with each other, and separate ourselves from the worry and frustrations of the rest of the world. We learned a lot from Bible teachers, had awesome praise and worship, and got to know some lovely and interesting people! Sukkot is always a special time of year for me. : )

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