There are 40 chapters in the book of Exodus. The first 34 are full of God’s deliverance, frogs, gnats, bloody door posts, parted seas, stone tablets, lightning, manna, quail, and a golden calf.
It’s got to be the best read in the whole Bible. I love it.
In chapter 35, the action comes to a stop. Moses gives God’s instruction about Sabbath-keeping. This is what you are NOT to do. This is how you withdraw from your daily work in order to give God the time and space to do God’s work IN you.
The final 6 chapters of Exodus narrate the preparations for how worship will happen among God’s people. These are the structures and rhythms that will assimilate the salvation and deliverance they experienced in the first 34 chapters into their common life– week after week, month after month. This is where you will do what you do on the Sabbath.
It is here, in chapter 35, that we meet Bezalel. Bezalel the artist. Bezalel the architect.
35:30 Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft…
36:1 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”
The next three chapters are all about what Bezalel and his team do. God GIFTS them to be the ones who construct a PLACE where God’s people can meet with him in worship.
I have been very grateful for our Bezalel(s): Art Lohsen and Michael Francke. These architects have done a great job listening to our story, to our needs and hopes and wants, and drawing a building where our people can meet with God in worship. I believe God has filled Art and Michael with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship. Thanks be to God.
We have sent their Bezalel plans to a few places and I would like to invite your prayer for the next few weeks:
- We have applied for our building permit and Arlington County has been reviewing the plans for almost 4 weeks now. We should be getting some formal feedback soon. Would you pray that the next month would go smoothly and that we would get the permit ‘right on time’.
- We have sent the plans to 3 general contractors. They will be finishing their bids in the next 2 weeks and hopefully appearing before our Facility Team for interviews the week of May 20th. Please pray now that we would choose another ‘Bezalel’ who would have the gifts and talents to build the vision that Frank and Lohsen have drawn.
- We have also received bids from 3 banks who would like to provide financing during our construction. Please pray for the vestry next week as they choose one of these institutions.
I am grateful for the practicality of Scripture. God has brought His people through building projects for thousands of years. Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we don’t NEED a place to go meet God. But God delights when we gather in a spot to learn, pray, sing, and celebrate. in fact it is such a delight to God that He gave us Bezalel(s) to imagine, draw, and construct what that place would be.
While I have ya…
We will be back at our old spot on Quincy Street 3 more times in May. Our last hurrah. Hope you will join us for all of it!
May 12 at 10am we will celebrate the ordination of Clay Morrison to the presbyterate with a reception to follow.
May 18 at 6:30pm we will have a PartyAuction!! We have rented the District Taco Truck. We’ll have a tango demonstration. The WV team will be on hand [taking donations] with a U-Haul to deliver the pews [and doors and lights and books] that you buy!
May 21 at 7:30pm we will have our last New to Restoration Dinner in this space. If you are new (we are somewhat obvious in our naming…). If you want to be a member… If you want to hear our story… Let us buy you dinner and tell you where we’ve been and where we are going. Sign up here.
Let’s pray for Bezalel and all of the folks on His team. Thank you God for delighting in beauty and coherence.