Mobile Holy Space. That’s what I have been calling the Topsy Turvy Bus. That has been our tagline thus far. As the driver and mechanic, I feel a special attachment to the bus that I worked on and prepared before the tour. And as soon as we heard about the Mishkan theme it became our Mobile Holy Space.
Mobile Holy Space. It rolls off the tongue. It succinctly sums up the identity we have created for the bus. It’s what I call it when I’m talking to the kids on the bus. But it might take some time before I feel like it fits.
The Mishkan was also a Mobile Holy Space. For 40 years in the desert and until they established the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jews carried around their Mishkan as a worshipping space, a gathering space, a space to deliver justice. Sometimes it feels disingenuine to compare the Topsy Turvy Bus to, according to some, the only space on space in the physical realm that God dwelled within.
What makes a holy space? We have asked many of the kids who came on the bus and overwhelmingly the response comes to making a space personal. Putting up posters. A security blanket or favorite stuffed animal. A secret hideaway in a corner of camp. Something that says: “This space is mine.”
Our second day on the road, we visited the Hazon CSA of South Jersey. Many of the members of the CSA walked by the bus and gave us sideways glances as they rushed in to grab their fresh produce and back off to their busy lives. Some interested members oohed and aahed over the veggie system and one young child refused to leave for over an hour with just the word “bus” crying to communicate his want to be around our ridiculous home. But the highlight of our afternoon came when Rivka walked onto the bus and made it HERS.
She walked by with her friend Jacob and I called to them, “Hey you’re not just going to walk by this crazy bus right?”
Without missing a beat: “We live around the corner. We’ll be back.” And they were. Five minutes later they waltzed back up to me and said “Can we go on the bus?” and then “Can we sit up there?” And they sat up on the loft and interrogated me for the next fifteen minutes. When they finally ran out of questions, Rivka said “You guys need a TV (As I told her, we already have a TV.) And I think you guys should put in a popcorn maker. And some new curtains. And I think you guys need to redo that LOVE sign in the window.”
At first I thought that putting in a TV kind of misses the message of the Topsy Turvy bus. But then I realized that she just wanted to make the Bus look like her home. She stepped into the space, got comfortable and created the space she wanted to live in. Maybe That’s all a place needs to be holy.
When the Jews built the Mishkan, lead builder Bezalel had to ask Moses to tell the people to stop donating supplies because the they gave so readily. Maybe all those people simply wanted to make the space theirs. As we ride on the bus we’ll figure out our favorite nooks, add some decoration, put in a personal touch until we can say this space is MINE. Then our mobile home will be Mobile Holy Space.
from our space to yours all the best,