Author Bethany Apelquist
Reflection: v. 5, ‘let us put up three shelters’
Take a moment to imagine this scene: bright lights, figures appearing, a voice from the heavens, Jesus transforming right in front of your very eyes. Peter has experienced something incredible, something like he has likely never experienced before. And what is Peter’s response? What is his impulse upon encountering the divine on that mountain top? His impulse is to put up shelters. With all the commotion of this text, I think it’s easy to skip right past this moment, but Peter’s response is one that in many ways makes a lot of sense. Peter’s is a response that we too may consider when we encounter the divine. In the ancient Jewish tradition, to build a shelter was to build a welcoming place for God. Each year people would gather for a festival in which they built shelters. These shelters were to make a place for God to come to earth. What if we believed like that? What if we believed that when we offered shelter we are making space for God to dwell? What if we believed that when we create space for others we create space for God? What if we believed that every time we offer hospitality, we welcome in God’s very presence? It is my prayer this Lenten season that we are like Peter—that our impulse leans toward creating space, that our impulse moves us toward hospitality, that when we encounter God it moves us toward love. It is my prayer that we remember that God is in our midst, that when we share with others, God is there, that we build shelters for all God’s beloved.
Prayer God of housing, create space in our hearts for hospitality, that we may create shelter for your image here on earth.