Tenting Among Us

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : John 1:1-14

And the Word become flesh and lived among us. (v. 14)

For over a week we lived together, my students and I, in tents while canoeing and backpacking in upstate New York. When in such close quarters, if even for a short time, you get to know each other quite well. You know who snores, who is an early riser, who likes cold cereal, and who takes joy in hanging up the bear-proof food bag. In short, tenting together brings about a certain intimacy.

This text from John is mind-boggling. Literally rendered, it says “the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.” The image refers to the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness. Wherever they would camp they would pitch a big tent – the tabernacle – and God would reside with them. God tented among them.

Amazingly, miraculously, in Jesus God tented among us. Not as a glory cloud inhabiting a tabernacle, but as one of us – fully human as well as fully divine. We call it the Incarnation, but neither words nor minds can grasp the reality. In taking on human flesh, God knows us and our condition, intimately. And God says that physical flesh per se is not evil. While fallen, our bodily nature as made by God is good.


God Incarnate, we praise you that you know us, intimately, from the inside, and we rest in the hope of the resurrection of the body.