Pillars of Support
In this penultimate episode in our Exploring Street Theology, I bring your attention to an element of the Mosaic that could be almost overlooked. The artist calls these the Pillars of Support. From ancient times pillars could be found in the Bible, often set as a memorial to a significant moment in the life of a faithful one. In Genesis 31:13 we read of God talking to Jacob ‘I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’
In Exodus 24:4 we find that “Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.” We also read in that book Exodus 13:21-22. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
According to tradition, the pillar of fire provided light so that the Israelites could travel by night during the Exodus from Egypt where the two pillars are seen as the manifestation of the divine presence.
Using Pillar in the context of a person depicts someone who is dependable; upon who one can rely. We read in Galatians 2:9 “and recognising the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles.
This raises the question, what are the pillars of our faith? The followers of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles depended upon 4 pillars. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
Pillar 1: It was a learning Church - it could be said that it is a wasted day when we do not learn something new and when we have not penetrated more deeply into the wisdom and the grace of God.
Pillar 2: It was a Church of fellowship - Someone said that the Church is a real Church only when it is a band of sisters and brothers.
Pillar 3: It was a praying Church - these early Christians always went in to God before they went out to the world; they were able to meet the problems of life because they had first met him.
Pillar 4: It was a reverent Church - the Christian lives in reverence because he knows that the whole earth is the temple of the living God.
you spoke to your people in the pillar of cloud
as they walked together in the wilderness.
Speak to me through your Word today,
that I may hear you calling me
out of the wilderness places in my life
and into new places you have promised to show me.
In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.