I was reading a story recently of the ancient Jewish people returning from a time of captivity and exile. They had spent many years crying out to Yahweh for a return to their promised land. In the process of being conquered, their temple was destroyed. For American Christians, this would be devastating…but to the Jewish community this would have been life-altering on many levels. This was the center of their culture and community. The temple was literally at the center of their city to remind them that everything in their life revolved around God’s Holy Place.
As the story goes on, God’s weary people returned to find their glorious temple that Solomon had built; destroyed. The ruins reminded them of the slavery and horror they had experienced. After a time of sorrow, the people began to rebuild. Before they could muster the strength and resources to put the pieces of their temple (and their lives) back together…they built a make-shift gathering place of animal skins and rope to serve as a temporary tabernacle. In their minds, it was not a fitting place for the God of creation to dwell…but it was all they had. When they were finished with the temporary temple, they all met together to worship God, bring their offerings, and remember His faithfulness in delivering them from their enemies. At this moment, the Shekinah Glory of God filled the temple. What does the word “Shekinah” mean and why do we need to know what this word means regarding God’s glory? The word Shekinah is from the Hebrew word “shekinot” which is used in the Bible. It means to “settle in” and “dwell among.” There, in the midst of Israel’s meager attempt to welcome God, He showed up in power and “settled-in” with them.
As a worship leader in a modern world, at times it can be hard to remind our congregations and communities that we gather with this one thought in worship: God is here with us. As a creative team, we ALWAYS ask ourselves how can we remind our people that God is here with us? Could the lights be bright enough? Could there be enough of them to display His glory? Could the sound be loud enough? Could our songs even say enough? The simple answer is no. But our goal as “Foothills Music” is to push ourselves to remind one another artistically and musically that God is with us. He meets us in our needs, in our brokenness. He fills our hearts with His glory and sends us to the world as messengers of His grace.
He is God for us. He is God with us.