John Coleridge Patteson & Sukkot - Feast of Tabernacles


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John Coleridge Patteson
First Bishop of Melanesia, Martyr
Sukkot - Feast of Tabernacles

Public Domain

John Coleridge Patteson was born in 1827 and came to New Zealand to assist Bishop Selwyn. He was put in charge of the Melanesian Mission. As its bishop from 1861, he opened up the islands to the gospel, and educated Melanesians to be priests and evangelists. He was a brilliant linguist, and did much to further the work of the mission by his warmth and modest charm. His murder on the island of Nukapu on 20 September 1871 was at the hands of people for whom he would gladly have given his life.

BORN: 1827, London, England.

DIED: 20 September 1871, Nukapu, Solomon Islands, Melanesia

Sukkot - Feast of Tabernacles

Sukkot (Hebrew: "Feast of Booths," "Feast of Tabernacles," or "Feast of the Ingathering") is one of the 3 great pilgrimage festivals, ordained by God that Jews travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate. It is a joyful celebration to remind Jews of the 40 years God provided for them in the wilderness. Sukkot is a joyous 7 to 8 day celebration with a wide variety of accompanying traditions. It begins at sunset today and the most important part if you are going to celebrate Sukkot tonight is that today you need to build a sukkah (Hebrew: "booth").

This lightly-constructed booth can be made from many different types of materials as long as it is able to stand up to the wind. The roof of the Sukkah is traditionally made from leaves, branches, and other plant matter. Sukkah are usually decorated on the inside with drawings and religious symbols (Many have christmas decorations and tinsel hanging from the ceiling). In the book of Leviticus, Jews are instructed to dwell in the Sukkah for all seven days of the Sukkot holiday. In a modern context, most take this to mean centering family gatherings around the sukkah and eating meals inside it, though some devout Jews will even sleep in it.

You will also need to gather what they call "The 4 Kinds". A single palm leaf, two willow branches and three myrtle branches, held together by woven leaves. An etrog is a citron, a lemon-like fruit grown in Israel. Here in New Zealand I think God would give us some leeway and substitutes would be totally acceptable (like a lemon or grapefruit instead of a etrog). The most important thing to remember is to have fun camping out with your family and having stories, round a campfire in the evening, especailly ones about Israel's 40 years in the wilderness.