If you live in east Texas you know that fire ants really like it here. What you may not know is that their mode of transportation is water. For real. They all hold legs and ride down the rapids of rain run-off until someone yells "JUMP!" then they all jump off and quickly begin building their mound. We have had bookoos of rain in the last couple of weeks with bookoos more expected in the next two days. Needless to say we have bookoos of fire ant mounds. That is a cute word, isn't it - bookoos?
Yesterday we were all sitting eating lunch and Michael commented on all of the fire ant mounds in our yard. I said, "It reminds me of the Feast of Tabernacles." He said, "That is exactly what I was thinking - the Feast of the Tabernacles." His eyebrows were up so I knew he hadn't thought of the feast at all. Might have even been mocking me a little bit. Surely not.
Anyway, I was just imagining the trip down the water for these little guys. I'm sure in their little ant ways they were laughing, singing, and I'm oh so sure there were a couple of boys scaring their moms by turning loose with most of their legs, shouting "Look ma! no feet!" Can't you just picture it?
For a couple of weeks I was studying about the Feast of Tabernacles and the pilgrimage of the adult Jewish males to the temple to celebrate the ingathering or harvest. Most often they would pack up mama and the little ones to go along for this joyful holiday filled with celebration. There were only three requirements for this holiday: the building of a temporary shelter or booth (to symbolize when the children of Israel dwelled in temporary shelters as God led them through the wilderness and provided for their every need); the taking of four kinds of foliage; and rejoicing all seven days. Just a thought: what if we were required to rejoice the whole time we celebrate our holiday season? Is that possible? A goal, maybe?
When the Jewish people were on their pilgrimages they would sing the Psalms of Ascent beginning with Psalm 120 going through Psalm 134. In Psalm 120 they were in a foreign land longing to be in the presence of their God. Don't you know that the closer they got to their beloved Jerusalem the louder they sang, the more they laughed? They had to have been tired, though. Can you imagine the young moms? I remember what it was like when the girls were babies going across Texas for Christmas. We had a heated suburban, bottles, disposable diapers, and later on, movies that could keep them entertained, but I was pretty stressed by the time we reached Grammy and Opa's.
Their goal was to be where God was because He didn't dwell in their hearts like today. He dwelt in the temple. They were eager to be with Him. Their journey runs so parallel with ours if we really think about it. We are on a journey to our heavenly Jerusalem. There should be joy in the journey. An anticipation that makes the others question the hope that is in us.
The difference is that we have access to Him 24 hours a day but sometimes others can't see the rejoicing in us because we are so overwhelmed with world stuff that it covers up the God stuff. Shame on us. We don't have to walk for miles. We just have to say "Jesus". Whisper "Jesus". Cry "Jesus". Immediately He is there to answer, to crouch over and embrace us, or to let us cry at His feet until we're done. My prayer for me and for you is that we will be eager to be with Him. That we will rejoice daily in the fact that we can call on Him at any time. That others will see that joy.
I'm expecting more tabernacles in the yard in the next few days as fellow sojourners catch up to their relatives. After they celebrate a few days and I know we have no more rainy forecasts, I'll stop pretending they are pilgrims on the way to the temple and start pretending that they are fire ants with a vicious sting. I'll go feed them a little Malt 0 Meal so they will enjoy a little sweetness before they go meet their Maker.