As Pastor Wayne and I were dreaming up Mosaic’s Holy Smoke Event for next week we were imaging the taste of grilled meats from the smoker, the aroma in the air, worship, preaching, and baptism happening. As I got to thinking of how the visible sign of smoke is part of grilling in a smoker I started to think of the extra-biblical expression used concerning the Old Testament, it’s a form of a Hebrew, Shekinah, which literally means, “he caused to dwell. Shekinah was used as a way to describe God’s presence on earth. Shekinah first appeared in the Israelites escape from Egypt. In Exodus 13:20-22 it says,” After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
Later on, in Exodus 33 God spoke to Moses out of the pillar of cloud bringing an assurance to Moses and the Israelites that God’s presence would be with them every step of the way. After this time the Israelites would welcome God’s presence in a portable, plain tent known as a “tabernacle” that would travel with them throughout their time in the wilderness. Many years later God’s presence would have a permanent home which was the Temple built in Jerusalem and eventually destroyed again in 70AD. However, the incarnation of Jesus meant that God’s presence wouldn’t be contained no longer in a cloud of smoke, a tent, or a temple but in a God made flesh. As Jesus ascended into Heaven, the early followers were given the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead. One of the metaphors of The Holy Spirit in The Bible is fire. John the Baptist described it by saying in Luke 3:16, ““I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Next Wednesday night, on August 1, 6:30PM, at EJ Nutter Park (E J Nutter Park, Beavercreek, Ohio, 45434) we will be asking for the fire of The Holy Spirit to be among us. Invite a friend, bring a side dish, a lawn chair, and prepare for experiencing God’s presence!
Grace and Peace,