rediscovering christianity's forgotten, organic ways amidst the modern industrial religious machine

Living Rhythmically Toward A Future: an explanation of why we meditate on eternity.

by Micah Landers

We celebrate Sukkot every fall.

I have met a lot of people who think that Sukkot is a weird thing to take part in. I have even met people who consider it to be just another fad among the strains of American Christian subculture. This is probably because they consider it to entail oddly ritualistic behavior and see little value in the rhythms without proper vision casting. As I have mentioned before when addressing other rhythms, Sukkot is another experience we have decided to partake in not because we are obligated or required to participate, but because it brings so much joy and refreshment in the entire journey. It’s kinda crazy how all these rhythms that God instigated are really beneficial to mankind, isn’t it?

Meditation Central. Not really a traditional Sukkah per say, but a pretty awesome structure we used to gather during Sukkot.

This is the holiday often referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles, or Feast of Booths. It is traditionally a time where each family builds a little, sparsely thatched hut called a Sukkah(“booth”), and spends a week eating and sleeping in said Sukkah. This is a time when guests are welcome and considered a huge blessing to a family, and a time steeped in Biblical and ancient Israeli traditions. The holiday is designed to remind the Jews of their wandering in the wilderness, of their time as Sojourners in a foreign land before they inherited the Promised Land.

As those who believe in the promises made by the Christ, we should immediately identify with and cling to the imagery created through Sukkot! Even with as little knowledge of the holiday as is mentioned above, a Christian should be able to recognize the potential involved in this holiday. But before we go into the full implications which stand out, let’s look at rhythms in a little more depth.

Common people, common goal. Common destination, common definition.

Human beings are designed to flourish when they maintain a rhythmic lifestyle. Again, this is not a list of rules about what to do and when to do it, because it is something we get to coöperate with God’s Spirit in designing and redesigning all throughout our lives. We are enabled to find joy and fill roles effectively by exercising control over our days, weeks, months, and years. We can become more effective fathers, and wives, and painters, and event organizers, and speakers, and woodworkers, etc. when we build rhythms that prioritize a recognition of the roles we are being taught to fill.

Who do you know that gets upset every year when Spring Break rolls around? Hopefully, no one feels pressure or guilt for taking a recognized break to relax and enjoy a time set apart for rest, such as a Spring Break or a Shabbat. In the same way, our different rhythms give us time to relax and time to pour tons of blood, sweat, and tears into growing, and by setting our time around specific intentions, we can become increasingly effective in all areas. Some rhythms are daily (i.e – breakfast, prayer), some are weekly (i.e. – Shabbat, swimming lessons), some are monthly (i.e. – paying bills, family excursion), and some are even yearly (i.e. – birthdays, Sukkot). Every person and every family will try to maintain a different rhythm, and there are no required aspects to it. Even though we don’t always stick to it, a rhythm is a good thing for becoming who we were designed to become.

So, when it comes to yearly rhythms, Sukkot is a top-notch journey in understanding who God is and where we stand currently. God originally set up this rhythm so that Israel would not forget how He faithfully led them through times of trouble into an awaited home. Does this sound familiar to you? As Christians, we are only sojourners here on earth. We have not arrived yet, but we are promised a grand welcome and a feast when we do arrive! (Rev 19) We should be identifying with this concept in our every day moments, so it is prudent to spend a week out of our year meditating on and re-identifying with this posture. We are supposed to be engaging with our promised future, and building into our identity as defined by Christ. This holiday also leaves us refreshed to maintain fervor in for the present, because taking a step back to catch the bigger vision helps us to prioritize in our current situations.

As you can probably guess if you know me or my friends, this holiday is not maintained in a strict kosher manner. Some people build Sukkahs with solid roofs (you are supposed to be able to see through it). Other people just use regular camping tents. People often eat a plethora of forms of pork. Our focus remains on unified fellowship over the principles of Sukkot. Often people try to get off work, so they can sit around in a field or yard together for a week. There is worship, board games, and napping. There are camp fires and pipe smoking, and art making. And there is meditation. Lots and lots of time for people to mediate on the purpose of their time at Sukkot. Lots of time for people to meditate on the purpose of their time on earth. Lots of time for people to recast the vision for their earthly roles as husbands, and mothers, and entrepreneurs, and gardeners.

A night under the Sukkah

Even as I write this article, I am wishing that Sukkot took place every quarter or twice a year. Not simply because it is a lot of fun, but because I am not a faithful man. I lose the vision so quickly, and Sukkot is something God designed to reset my bearings upon who He defines me to be.

Micah and Lisa Landers live on Bluegrass St. in Fort Thomas, KY with their wee daughter Norah and hyperactive dog Zeus. Micah is a deep thinker, voracious reader, and fellow believer that J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is the closest thing to Scripture mortal man has ever written.