A couple days ago (Saturday, 7/26) I was in downtown Philadelphia exploring the birthplace of our nation. In my pic below, the building with the spire is Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution. I love how the cloud near the spire matches the shape of the building.
Before I talk more about clouds and Independence Hall, let me explain something: I'm starting a worship project called David's Tabernacle that will attempt to build a round-the-clock worship center (24/7, seven days a week), where volunteers (no one's getting paid) come and do shifts of worship and prayer at my church.
In the Old Testament, worship is associated with clouds of incense and also clouds of smoke from sacrifices. Hebrews 13:15 tells us to now, under the New Covenant, offer "sacrifices of praise," which is the "fruit of our lips giving thanks." We sing our praises/offerings like David did instead of doing the free-will offerings/sacrifices done under Moses and the Law. David's style of worship before the Ark was divine foreshadowing to New Covenant worship.
Modern day praise and worship has an ancient Biblical precedent, in other words. Just because modern people invented electric instruments and "praise bands" doesn't mean we invented the concept that praise/worship is a sacrifice to God done through singing and speaking (fruit of our lips).
I always imagine clouds of sweet incense rising to Heaven when people sing worship songs.
When we get this worship project going, Lord willing, clouds of worship/praise/prayer will be rising like spires into the sky, and we'll be building an Independence Hall in the spiritual sense: we'll have the liberty that comes to us when we draw near to Christ and receive His strength to live holy, others-focused lives free from addiction and sinful habits.
Sin is tyranny. Christ came not only to save us from Hell but also from the inability to make righteous, holy decisions while we're here on earth -- i.e. "slavery to sin."
Jesus was the first abolitionist.
So, six days until David's Tabernacle begins. I had around 10 people signed up. I found out, however, that some of those people have scheduling conflicts because of work and travel. It's down to seven, at least for Week 1.
I'm going to try and make up for those cancellations by doing some extra shifts myself. It is more than worth the effort. I believe as word about this begins to spread at my church -- and as people walk away saying, "Wow, that was powerful" -- it will create a buzz that will hopefully draw the rest of the 50-70 people to sign up for shifts.
Once people catch the vision, the momentum will shift. When that happens, that's when the 24/7, seven days a week thing becomes a more reachable, less physically depleting goal.
And, for a variety of reasons, this picture of Independence Hall inspires and encourages me as I work on scheduling and planning our first week of David's Tabernacle: