Community Makes Us Strong

See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with a divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge, and every kind of skill, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every kind of craft. -Exodus 31:2-5

Dear members and friends, 

When I was in seminary, I took a church administration class. The class was taught by a professor who had 30 years of parish experience. One day, he shared with us some wisdom that he learned from his own experience: “Do not ever try to do everything by yourself, because a church is a community of people.” Afterward, he emphasized the importance of the leadership that we could bring to a church community as an ordained clergy. But he also offered a warning that as passionate newly ordained ministers, we might have the desire to do many things all by ourselves. However, since we will be serving a community of people believing in God, both what to do and how we do it needs to be done in a communal way. 

In Exodus 25-30, we find that God gives very detailed instructions to build the Tent of Meeting and all the items within it. When I was reading this for the first time, I thought, “how on Earth could Moses build everything as God orders?” The task seemed impossible given two factors that worked against Moses: 1. Moses was not a skilled person in designing, building, or crafting any of the items that God ordered; 2. The Israelites had just fled from Egypt and were in the desert. Then, in chapter 31, everything becomes clear because God had already prepared two artisans who were capable of building and making everything as instructed. One interesting detail is that the person who was called to be in charge of the big project was Bezalel. In Hebrew, his name means “in the shadow of God.” This could be understood in two different ways: one is under the protection and guidance of God or the other is hidden by God until a certain moment.    

My brothers and sisters in God, God gives us difficult tasks because we are capable of accomplishing them with the help of others rather than on our own. Let us be willing to serve and at the same time willing to be served. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee