[from April 3, 2013]
"You shall further command the Israelites to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the light, so that a lamp may be set up to burn regularly. In the tent of meeting... it shall be a perpetual ordinance to be observed throughout their generations by the Israelites."
In the back of our sanctuary we have, hanging from the ceiling near the entrance, a red cylindrical lamp. Most people probably don't even notice it. But it's been there since the sanctuary was built. The architect planned it. I've always thought of it as "the eternal flame." Today I found its scriptural reference: Exodus 27:20-21.
When God was giving Moses instructions on building their holy tabernacle, God threw in an "eternal flame." It was an oil lamp set to burn inside the tabernacle, but outside the sacred curtain. It was to remind the people of God's covenant with them. When they couldn't see the presence of God, and may have wondered if God was even there, they could come to the tabernacle and look upon the eternal flame and know. HE IS!
Maybe I should remind our congregation of this. Surely we all have times in our lives when we wonder the same thing. But God is here! Hallelujah! Look at the flame.