Tabernacle and Ark
There is a striking parallel between the building of the Tabernacle and Noah’s ark. The same delicate details and caring instructions. ‘Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark…And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of…’
The ark’s function is to save Noah, and through him humankind. The ark, just as the Tabernacle, is life giving. Noah’s entering the vessel and letting the pair of animals in is a shared experience with God. Overviewing the animals boarding is sharing the sentiments of the life-giving-God. Even more, it is learning, an internalising of the very nature of God, whose nature is to merge life with hope. ‘And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee.’
‘Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.’ The above ‘co-learning’ with God explains a lot. Noah’s being different from his generation did not happen by chance, neither does it to us. He does not belong to those who ‘filled the earth with corruption and violence’. He was ‘a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.’ This ‘walking with God’ is the key. Noah remained just, because he undertook the toiling work of imitating God ‒ his life-giving nature.
The Tabernacle in our churches is a great reminder of this learning. Life, democracy, the common good does not happen to us by chance. All this comes through cultivating our soul, our divine nature. If this not internalised, the destruction of all what we cherish is inevitable. The spirit of loving care, that prompted the building the tabernacle and the ark, is the only life.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..