Lent 2012: Day Five

Luke 13:34 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!

I recently wrote a 3000+ word essay on the topic of national conflicts. And whilst I can’t share it online yet because it is a coursework peace, I can say that my conclusion was that conflict, war, is caused by seeking power. (Zimbardo speaks on the psychology here.) By imperators. And the only way to end war, to end conflict, is to open ourselves and love.

This verse from the Gospel of Luke caught my eye today, because I’ve been thinking about Jerusalem a lot recently. Several of my friends have been to the “Holy Land”, and whilst some have had an experience of both good and bad moments, some of them came back having felt that they only experienced the bad. Which is a tragic thought.

I haven’t been to Jerusalem yet. I want to go and know that at some point I will (probably in university life), but a large part of me isn’t looking forward to it. Because, as Jesus pointed out and as countless others have been bewildered by, the supposed “City of Peace” is anything but.

When I go to Jerusalem, I want it to be Real. When I go to Jerusalem, I don’t want to see neon lights flashing above the preserved rock where Jesus apparently once sat down. When I go to Jerusalem, I don’t want to walk with tourists speaking only English, ignoring the poor people Jesus would have been with. When I go to Jerusalem, I don’t want to get killed.

But when I go to Jerusalem, there will be churches and neon stooped over practically every supposedly “holy” spot, there will be tourists who don’t care about the people, there will be terrible poverty and money-changers, and there will be checkpoints, divisions.

AND YET when I go to Jerusalem I know there will be Hebrew singing, there will be freshly baked bread and people learning to sustain themselves instead of relying on technology and Tescos. And there will be people living amidst the chaos that smile, not just surviving but living.

I want Jerusalem to be a beautiful place that lives up to its name. City of Peace. For its inhabitants to be equal children willing to live under the gentle wing of God respectfully.

It’s unlikely I’ll see it in my lifetime. But what I can see and do see is the “Jerusalem”, the Peace and Real-ness of other places and people. And I hope that I can be a light shining for God and for others. I hope I can help Christ’s vision of freedom, love and peace to grow. And I hope you can too.

Luke 13:34 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!

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