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Friday, April 9, 2010

4/9/10- 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 More Than a Tent

1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

     I can remember camping many times.  One of my worst experiences was camping on an island in the middle of Lake Murray with the boy scouts.  We got there in a drizzle, set up our tents, and dug trenches around them so the water would drain away from the tent.  But it poured cats and dogs- and our "waterproof" tent soon became a sieve, and the trenches we dug filled up, overflowed, and we were stuck inside a miserable situation.  A tent is good- much better than nothing- to protect us from rain and sun (just ask the People of Haiti who would love to have a tent).  Yet, a tent is not the best there is.  So it is with our bodies.  Ask anyone who gets old.  Eighty percent of those over 65 in America have some kind of chronic illness that they live with (high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, etc.).  All of those over thirty know they can't run as fast as they used to. Our bodies are like tents, and we "groan" Paul says because we don't wan to "leave" our tents- in the rain of life.  Kind of like a hermit crab doesn't want to leave their shell, even though they have outgrown it. 
     Paul was a tent maker, so he probably thought a lot about tents and our bodies.  The Spirit is a "deposit" he says guaranteeing future payments.  The Holy Spirit "dwells" (or "tents" or "tabernacles") inside of us (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:19).  The Spirit inside of us indicates that this life is not all there is- but there is more to come.  A deposit or downpayment guarantees more payments to come, and allows ownership.   Calvin said the Spirit is the real source of the assurance of our salvation- allowing us to know (as much as we know anything) that we have eternal life.  Our temporary bodies also point to something more.  Each pain can be a sign pointing to our own resurrection- reminding us this is not our permanent home- but pointing to something more. 

Prayer: Help us, O Lord, understand that this life is not all there is.  Give us grace to live beyond ourselves- for you- because you are the source of more beyond. 


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