Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 27th May 2023: The transience of this world

Festival of Tabernacles God Deuteronomy 16

Reading : Verses from Deuteronomy, Chapter 16

Sukkot booth

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the festival of weeks to the Lord your God, contributing a freewill-offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from the Lord your God. Rejoice before the Lord your God—you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, the Levites resident in your towns, as well as the strangers, the orphans, and the widows who are among you—at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and diligently observe these statutes.

You shall keep the festival of booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing-floor and your wine press. Rejoice during your festival, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, as well as the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows resident in your towns. For seven days you shall keep the festival to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose; for the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all your undertakings, and you shall surely celebrate.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Our Lectionary reading today is from Deuteronomy and is about Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Tabernacles or the Festival of Booths. It's a Jewish festival celebrated in the autumn, to rejoice in God's bounty at the end of the harvest season. It's also a time to remember Israel's 40 years in the Sinai desert after leaving Egypt, and so the people are bidden to erect a sukkot, or booth, as a temporary place to live in for seven days. The booth is made of natural materials with a roof to protect them from the sun, but allows the stars to be seen, and is usually decorated. Families will eat and often sleep in the booth, and there is great emphasis on a sense of feeling closer to God.

Last summer when I emptied my bungalow prior to moving, I got rid of most of my possessions. The amount of clutter accumulated was truly mind-blowing. But there are only a few things I regret giving away - mostly my books. Why was I keeping chairs that were uncomfortable, and ornaments that meant nothing? Why were there two kettles, and seven trays? In the end I decided it was cathartic to be free of the clutter. There was nothing wrong with the items disposed of, but I didn't need them!

Thinking about the Festival of Booths should help us remember the transience of this life - it's very short and may end at any time. We cannot take the clutter, even my beloved books, with us! We need to put our emphasis on things eternal before it's too late!


Lord Jesus Christ,
keep us ever mindful
of what is important in our life,
that material things will pass away
but that Your love for us is eternal.
May we constantly asses our priorities
and not push you to the edges of our daily life,
or seek You only when we need help.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to find out more about Sukkot:

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