I will make three tents
A Lectionary #614
It’s a lame joke but anyways….
The new missionary was having nightmares. People said, “Father, you should go talk to the elder.” After making the offering of tobacco he shared that “each night I wake up in sweat, shouting I’m a tipi! I’m a tipi! I’m a tipi! I fall asleep but then I wake up again shouting I’m a wigwam! I’m a wigwam! I’m a wigwam!“
The elder leaned close and reassuringly said – “Father, you’re just too tense.”
The tent is a place where life is sheltered and can flourish. St. John describes Jesus’ incarnation as, he “pitched his tent among us”. The tent was the first religious enclosure for God among the Israelites. Peter’s urge to make three tents to enclose and preserve Jesus’ transcendence echoes that first tent-temple of the nomadic times.
It shows how needy we are for assurance that God is among us. We feel particularly needy when under stress and in mortal danger. But after the transfiguration, which prefigures resurrection, God will reveal even greater glory on mount Calvary.
Young people growing in faith often report experiencing God’s transcendence during communal praise and worship, Eucharistic of adoration, during Mass and while on mission trips. They lament and keenly feel its absence returning to their regular life. Longing for joy and certainty they come back to the mountain.
To grow they need go to the cave instead. Experiences of transcendence are special gifts and we need a few of them. But what God needs from us is the kind of regular prayer by which we transcend our neediness for experiences of transcendence. This is of even greater value when pondering a vocation to religious life or priesthood.
Fr. Mark Blom, OMI
Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada