Monday, June 14, 2010

a shining city: Jerusalem

I have hope for Jerusalem. That is a radical statement based on the political tension at hand in the Middle East and I may not see that city reconciled in my lifetime. That is a reality I can face square on in fact. But I do believe that all things will be reconciled back to God's hand in the end in whatever way, shape or fashion that He determines best.

I have to be honest, I was anxious to enter Jerusalem in the beginning, to step into the tension that exists. But the city wooed me with its' story both past and present. I felt so much peace and quiet while we were in the desert places and walking in Galilee that I imagined the contrast between those and the city gates would leave me with a quickened heart beat and sideways glances for the 2 days spent in the city. And it was intense but it was also beautiful and sad and curious to me. I imagined our friends Ben and Stacie who lived there for 2 years and Brad and his family, one year. That made it feel more personal to me, to look for daily life around me.

It felt like the continuum of the story that I have been writing about, beginning in the Old Testament with the patriarchs, the wanderings & giving of the law, the promise of a Messiah, and then fulfillment of scripture through Jesus coming. We walked through the last week of Jesus' life, beginning our first morning on the Mt. of Olives. I read the passages with new eyes in Luke 19 when the triumphal entry into the city takes place, with Jesus' response to rounding the mountaintop on the donkey as the scripture said he would do and weeps as he sees the city. And as we sat in the Garden in Gethsemane and pondered how Jesus shared a Passover meal with the disciples and how he would be betrayed I felt devastation for him as a man, that he was leaving his relationships, his family, his home here. There are so many cultural and fulfilment pieces in this part of the story that blew my mind.

And as we stood in David's city early on our second morning in the city which sits low I felt his confidence as we read Psalm 121 and he writes that he "lifts his eyes up to the hills" for help in a vulnerable place where he was so exposed and that God "watches over you and is your shade at your right hand". Just like the desert, this place requires full dependence. And on the Temple Mount & the southern steps where Pentecost took place and we were reminded of the value of community as living stones. How on our own we are not impressive or compelling but together, we are the new temple of God, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

I cannot express my gratitude for this opportunity to those who prayed, supported, gave, and encouraged Ryan and I in this venture. This is my last official post about our trip but I assure you, the things I am learning will continue to thread themselves through my thoughts, ponderings and writings. Until then, Shalom.

1 comment:

  1. Rebekah, I don't know you, but I know your heart. I've read your blog about your time in Israel with Brad. I've just returned from 11 days in Turkey with Brad, and want to share that experience as you have done here. Our journey was incredible, life-changing, uplifting, beyond imagining. You have inspired me with the words you've written here ! Halak, my friend, and hazak (be strong)! Chris in Atlanta