The Ark of the Covenant

In today’s first reading, the Ark of the Covenant is prominently featured and a locus of the story. While the Ark is an icon of the people of the Exodus up to the Babylonian exile, I fear most folks know little about the Ark apart from “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” the 1981 blockbuster movie – now 40 years old. Of course the very title of the movie begs the question: when did it get “lost.” The Ark is perhaps the most sacred relic of the Israelites. It consisted of a pure gold-covered wooden chest with an elaborate lid called the Mercy seat. The Ark is described in the Book of Exodus as containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. According to the Letter to the Hebrews, it also contained Aaron’s rod and a pot of manna. Continue reading