What the Tent of Meeting Teaches Us about Worship*
edited and posted by Bob Young

What is the answer to the overwhelmingness of life except the awareness that real living depends on a continuing process of meeting and meetings, and the meeting that matters most is the meeting with God?
Many aspects of the situation we face today are not without parallel. In this sermon we go back almost three millennia, at least 2700 years, seeking answers. We begin by noticing: matters between God and his people had deteriorated into virtual nothingness.
It had not always been so. Relationship had been at its finest. But now it was gone. Oh, for the good old days, when God was really present, when God alone was sufficient.

Biblical. Five chapters in Exodus detail the tent of meeting. We also remember the alternate meeting tent outside the camp. What is this? Here is the declaration that God will indeed be God, and claim his people. The relationship is challenged but maintained in Exodus 32. But the honeymoon is very brief.
In the flaming words of God's prophets 1000 years later, the question is posed: will God still keep his appointment, maintain his presence with a people apostate and unreliable? Is the relationship dependent on human capacity and perfection? Is the relationship dependent upon human power or God's nature? Can God's nature within us, and relationship with divinity, be maintained despite our frailty?
Indeed, grace is met at the meeting, that is the point. God's presence is real. We have an appointment at a meeting where grace meets even sinful, powerless people. But--it is one thing to affirm it and another to practice it.
Historical. Such was the experience of our forefathers, the pioneers of faith, the consistent commitment to meeting. Meeting that handles life which is riddled with holes and gaps. At the meeting--everything is alright. Life is reoriented, right side up when the meeting is over. So we understand some of the dogged loyalty of those who have been more consistent in the meeting than many of today's Christians. And something of what we have done to worship is to blame. God too little in view, focused on horizontal fellowship, meetings with one another, meetings with our group, meetings with our friends, specialized meetings, as though the meetings depend on some outward circumstance rather than the presence of God.

Understanding the God-meeting