Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Journey to Jerusalem: What does Jerusalem mean to me?

The Journey to Jerusalem is dangerous; there will be pain, suffering, and death.  Jesus is very much aware of what Jerusalem means:

LUKE 13:31-35
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.'
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

I remember seeing the "Cotton Patch Gospel",
a version of your story set in Georgia
and the question being asked,
"What does Atlanta [Jerusalem] mean to me?"

You knew the violent history
of Jerusalem.
You knew the power struggle
that has happened (and continues!) for centuries,
if not millennial in Jerusalem:
religious power,
military power,
political power,
economic power...
all that and more in Jerusalem -
a city the prophet Ezekiel has called,
"The navel of the world"
(the word "center" in Hebrew is literally "navel").

But what does Jerusalem mean to me?
It is where you were blessed in the Temple as a baby.
It is where you debated theologically as a child.
It is where you over turned tables.
It is where you rode in as a humble king of peace.
It is where you were wrongly convicted.
It is where you were wounded, scourged, and killed.
It is where you died.
It is where you were buried.
It is where you were raised in power.
It is where you appeared to your disciples.
It is where you gave your Holy Spirit to us.

Jerusalem, O Jerusalem.
The city that lives in conflict
and yet gives me hope.
gather in your children,
like a mother hen her chicks.
Keep us always in your care.

At Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church, we are committing to journey the 6,150 miles from Elizabethtown, NC to Jerusalem, Israel in our walking, running, swimming, cycling, etc.

Track your miles, share them here, and join us on the Journey to Jerusalem.

We will post those miles online and on our banners in the sanctuary and in our fellowship building.  Together we will make our journey to Jerusalem!

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