Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Journey: 'Andrea Oakes, Moses, and Joshua ... going outside the camp to the tent of meeting'

Augusta County resident Bob Kirchman took note of last week's prayer issue in neighboring Staunton, and Councilwoman Andrea Oakes' stand to preserve prayer that has been the traditional opening for city council meetings for the past century. He wrote at The Journey:
After the people sinned while Moses was receiving the Law, the Tabernacle was pitched outside the camp and those who would seek the Lord had to venture out to it.

"For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp." -- Exodus 33:5-7

Prayer before city counsel meetings has been relegated to the 'work session.' Here is where we are as a culture today. The presence of G-d has been removed to "outside the camp," and we must make the effort if we are to seek G-d for the welfare of our city.

The scripture says that Moses went out regularly to meet with G-d, "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." -- Exodus 33:11a.

But then we learn a most interesting fact about Joshua: "but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." -- Exodus 33:11b. Here was a man who wanted to linger far beyond what was required in the presence of G-d.

Moses and Joshua remained in the presence of G-d and were shown the grace of G-d toward the people. Often people see the giving of the law and the sternness of G-d in the books of Moses, but miss the grace. Finding the grace requires a trip to the Tabernacle and time in G-d's presence.

The Law, given on Sinai, is the basis (like it or not) for the right governing of our society. The grace, it is not so easily written on tablets. One needs to seek it in communion with the One who is gracious.

We are blessed to have public servants like Andrea Oakes, who do so.
Those with opinions about the prayer issue may want to contact Staunton City council members. Their contact information can be found here ... Andrea Oakes' email address is oakesaw@ci.staunton.va.us.

No comments: