And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. (Exodus 25:8 ESV)
From chapter 25 to chapter 31, God goes into intricate detail about something that is special to Him and His connection to His people.
For almost 2000 years architecture for places of Christian gathering have made great effort to be as splendidly arrayed and adorned. It has sought to reach to the heavens itself with their steeples. It has sought in recent times to be as large as possible, as expensively arrayed as possible, as technologically up to date as possible in a bid to reflect thanks to God and to a degree the brilliance of man.
For the wandering people of Israel, as they were mobile, God’s expressed instructions for that mobile sanctuary was to give man an insight into the pattern of heaven. It was God to man giving earthly dimensions of a heavenly reality. So that the precise measurements and material used for different aspects of this mobile sanctuary would evoke more than ever the presence of the Almighty and the wonder of His desire to be among His people.
This is where sometimes efforts at architecture miss the point. The point isn’t for the sake of grandeur and pomp. The purpose is to give an indication of how the Holy One of Israel wants to be with Israel.
For architects, engineers, textile designers, interior designers, artists, capturing the instructions Moses receives in this dialogue would be something richly glorious to express. Being a part of such a project would truly stimulate the creative juices and structural ingenuity required.
It is once more stunning to see that the Creator of the Universe and the Liberator from the oppressive brutality of a world super-power should engage all the talents, gifts and abilities of the people to develop a way to be with them. To be their God and for them to be His people.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden