The Chronicler tells us how David brought the ark of the covenant to the city of Jerusalem in 1 Chronicles 15-16. In our imagination, we can consider how the text relates to the church in its intentional interim period.

The first thing we see is that David prepared the place. We are told in 15:1 that, after David had constructed buildings for himself and his government in the City of David he prepared a tent to house the ark of the covenant. The church during its intentional interim formed a transition team that helped the church conduct a self-study and work through unresolved issues from the past. In addition, the church reviewed and updated its constitution and developed a mission statement. All of this was preparatory work to lay the groundwork for the coming of a new pastor.

The second emphasis of the text is that David consecrated the priests. In verse 12, David sends some Levites to retrieve the ark. Others were appointed to play instruments (v. 16). Yet others had duties in Jerusalem and trusted the others to do their assigned duties properly. So the church has now selected a Pastor Search Committee and has prayed over them to do their task well. In verse 13, David reminded the people of the faulty first attempt to bring the ark not to reemphasize the past but only to learn from those mistakes and to engage the task properly this time. So our congregation is called to trust in God’s leadership of the Pastor Search Committee and not dwell on the mistakes or issues of the past.

Third, in verse 3, David assembled the people. David called them to participate in the bringing in of the ark, even though the Levites had the specific role of carrying the ark. All were present when the ark was brought into Jerusalem (vv. 28-29). So the congregation participates in the installation of the Pastor Search Committee members and commits to praying for them throughout the process of the pastoral search. We cannot be like Michal (v. 29), despising the work of the committee or desiring that we ourselves played a more significant role.

Finally, we find that even though David did a new thing in bringing the ark to Jerusalem, he also honored the past. David’s goal was the eventual unification of worship in the city of Jerusalem. His plan was to build a temple for God. For now, however, David continued offering sacrifices to YHWH at Gibeon, where the bronze altar of Bezalel still stood before the tabernacle Moses first used in the wilderness (16:39-43). As the church prepares itself for a new pastor and the changes that will necessarily entail, it can hold fast in the belief that it will be change within a continuity of who this church has been and what God continues to call this church to be within its community.

So to invite the presence of God in the midst of this pastoral search, we should prepare the organizational structure and consecrate ourselves and our search committee. We should all assemble in prayer for the ones who will do the work and we should honor the past as we look forward toward the future.

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1 Chron 15-16, “Inviting God’s Presence”

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