I live in an RV Resort. The management calls this place the “pavilion”. It is here that events are held; weddings, dances, cookouts, family reunions – whatever the residents want to host. For me in the quiet of the early dusk hour, I gaze upon this place as a tabernacle in the woods. I am mentally far removed from Williston as I witness the spectacular beauty of “the tabernacle” and remember another tabernacle from my youth.
Special Memories At The Tabernacle
In the evenings when all the activity of the Williston Crossing RV Resort are concluded, I enjoy a moonlit bicycle ride up to the tabernacle. The lights haven’t yet been turned off for the night and I enjoy sitting quietly. This is a perfect time to reflect upon the day and to commune with God in the stillness of the night. The memories of my other tabernacle are especially strong tonight.
Camp Joy Bible Conference Tabernacle
It was there at the Camp Joy Bible Conference in Brownsville, Kentucky that every August from 1963 until 2000, I spent an activity-packed weekend with teens from across the nation. My first weekend I myself was only a child; my last, I was the mother of three grown children.
The Camp Joy Bunkhouse
It was certainly not the bunkhouse that took me back to Camp Joy each year – though it had its own special charm. Charm if you are willing to consider crowded conditions, smelly feet, cold showers, and little sleep. But it was camp and in the 60’s, we didn’t expect it to have the conveniences of a hotel.
Across the field stood a large wooden cross. This was a place we spent a few minutes in the afternoon called “quiet time” or “vespers”. During this set-aside time we were assigned a Bible passage to read and think about. I suppose those were the moments that I began to really enjoy the solitude of just being still and observing the beauty of Gods world.
At the conclusion of the final tabernacle service of the weekend, we were each given a candle. As we sang a song, all campers made their way out across the field in the dark, formed a circle around the cross, and one by one, lit the candle of the person next to us. At the conclusion of the candle lighting ceremony, there was enough light to see the faces of every person in the circle. It was a wonderful visual of what it meant to “let our lights shine”.
But The Tabernacle Was My Favorite Time
What beautiful memories of the quiet times spent on those hillsides, and then the trek down into the valley to sit in the tabernacle for the evening-time of preaching and singing. As the night-time gathered her orchestration of crickets, tree-frogs, and the lonely hoot of an owl, the light slowly faded from the horizon. The worshippers were surrounded in a cocoon of night-time fog. The dampness of dew was refreshing after the heat of the day. We were in a special place with a special purpose – to listen to what Gods Word had to say to our hearts.
Many of the decisions which have directed my paths, and brought purpose to my life, were made in that old tabernacle. Tonight, just seeing this beauty before me here at Williston, I have joy in remembering.
Have you had a tabernacle in your life? Did you ever attend Camp Joy Bible Conference at Brownsville, Kentucky? I’d love to hear from you.