Her New Tabernacle {chronicle}


Her New Tabernacle {chronicle}

July 14, 1979 Andover, MA

July 14, 1979 Andover, MA

She’s been gone almost a year now.  She finally left her earthly house of this tabernacle behind and went to live in God’s Tabernacle.  My mother often said she wished she would die in her sleep, which is what she did, as far as I know (I wasn’t there.  I was at home sleeping.)

My mother made her living as a bookkeeper.  Her last employer was a Jewish plumber, Max Wolf, in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  Mr. Wolf was a practicing Jew.  At some point while employed by Mr. Wolf, my mother was asked by him to keep the books for the local synagogue, where he attended.  This required her attendance at a monthly meeting, in the synagogue, where I suppose she reported to the attendees their financial status and received receipts for the next month’s report.

My mother respected Mr. Wolf and his synagogue, often speaking of her attendance at the meetings, which were held in a back room of the synagogue.  It occurs to me now that, although my mother had been acquainted with numerous Jewish businessmen and women, previously, this was likely the first (and only) one which generated her respect.

As a young child I remember my mother speaking ill of Jewish shopkeepers who were shrewder than any of their customers.  For her to work for a Jewish employer, as well as for his synagogue, and have the level of respect which she had for them, was amazing.

What does this have to do with a tabernacle?

To my knowledge the origin of the term tabernacle is in ancient Jewish culture and worship.  God gave detailed instructions to Moses for building the first tabernacle, which he recorded in the book of Exodus.  The purpose of the tabernacle was to house the ark of the covenant and for the priests to make atonement for the sins of the people.

While the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness for forty years, the tabernacle had a place of prominence among them when they set up camp.  And when they traveled, it went before them, or rather the ark of the covenant did.  The tabernacle itself was dismantled for traveling.

The God of Israel did not literally dwell inside the tabernacle, but it was representative of God’s presence.  It was the place where the priests entered God’s presence, inasmuch as men may do so and live.  Thus the rope tied to the priest for pulling him out of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, in the event that he died.

Loosely translated, God was inside the tabernacle.

Years later when Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, that took the place of the tabernacle.  Solomon desired to build God an house more glorious than his own in accordance with his father, David’s, wishes.  Whether or not the terms synagogue and temple are the same, they are used in the same context fro a place of worship, where one meets with God.

John said in the first chapter of his Gospel (1:14) in reference to Jesus,

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word ‘dwelt’ is also translated ‘tabernacled’.  Jesus is the Word, Jesus is the Son of God, and therefore is God, and He lived or tabernacled among men.

Jesus tabernacled among us on earth.

As you may know, I started memorizing the book of 2 Corinthians two years ago.  I was working on chapter five during the last few months of my mother’s life.  It had been weeks since she had spoken to me.  It was a lonely agonizing time, knowing that she would be soon leaving her earthly dwelling-place, to meet Jesus and her loved ones who were waiting for her.

At the time it felt cruel to be memorizing verses about death while my mother’s life hung in the balance.  I thought the verses likely would be soon forgotten (they were not) for the pain of losing my mother.  But I kept on.  Because it was the right thing to do  Because the verses are God’s words to me.  And because He had a purpose in doing things His way.

That last paragraph is the heart of the matter.  The tears are pouring from my eyes.  Not for my mother, or for the loss of her physical tabernacle, but for letting God be God and submitting to His Word.

My mother is tabernacled in heaven.

There’s a short backstory to the passage in 2 Corinthians 5.  When I was a Bible college student in another lifetime, likely before you were born, I studied that passage.  I remember writing a paper on it.  it’s meaning has always been special to me, even though I had not lost someone close to me.

The verses became personal to me when  my mother died.

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

For in this we groan, being burdened, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.

If so be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked.

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened:  not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4

My paper showed the immediacy of being in God’s presence upon death (verses 6-8), which is comforting to know.

When I review this passage, which I did again yesterday, I am reminded of my mother.  As time passes the memory is less about her dying, and more about her life, both in her earthly tabernacle of this body, and in her new home — heaven.

For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face:  now I know in part; but then I shall be known even as I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Beulah and Marion Dennison Salem St. Andover 1951

Beulah (left) and Marion Dennison (right) Salem St. Andover 1951

 

Marion Joyce Dennison Moore

Entered her earthly tabernacle:  May 14, 1920

Entered her new tabernacle:  March 10, 2015

Note:  I am currently the age my mother was in the top photo.  I somehow missed the youth gene.

For more remembrances of my mother you may wish to read:

Her Final Home

The Birthday Book

Oh Dear, Where Did My Mother Go?

Final Destination

Mother Knows Best

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