Posted tagged ‘Jerusalem’

PRESENT!

April 11, 2017

palms

“Live deliberately, ”  I tell my classes.  “Make deliberate,  conscious choices.”    (So during this Holy Week,  I choose to direct my attention more often to the cosmic, eternal events which makes this week so full of opportunity for us.)

 “Be present.”

This week begins with the familiar story of Palm Sunday.  

 

road to jerusalem

It had been a pilgrim’s journey to Jerusalem, where observant Jews can be  present for Passover.   Jesus had been making the  journey to this Passover in Jerusalem for a few days, and He made a few stops along the way.

Did you know that once Jesus was scolded for not being “present”?

There is a city along the way to Jerusalem called Bethany.    A man named Lazarus lived there with his two sisters.    He became very sick and was dying.  The sisters sent word to Jesus to come quickly and heal him.  

(Here is an aerial view of Bethany’s location, down in the corner):

aerial view

But Jesus did not arrive quickly;   Lazarus was dead by the time He got there.

The sisters  scolded and said,    “If you had been here sooner,  you could have done something for him!”     ( If you had been  present here,  our brother would not have died.)        But Jesus had not been present when needed,  or so they thought.  We know what Jesus did for Lazarus.    The sisters are united with their brother.

marthaThen it was time to take care of their Guest, a Guest who is now present.   But Martha scurried away to get the food and drink ready.   Only her sister Mary remained  present at the side of Jesus to hear every word He had to say.

One present at His side,  one not;  and Jesus said that Mary had chosen the “better part.”   I don’t need to point out that being present for Jesus at every moment is indeed the better part.     How much you can miss when you’re scurrying about with other duties and other thoughts!!

Then,  on the first day of the week,  Jesus walked all the way into Jerusalem– and was met by many people who had anticipated that He would be present in the city!

Palm branches

Yes,  it’s ironic that the same population who was heralding Him as their  Blessed King “who comes in the name of the LORD”  is the same population that cried out that they have no king but Herod — so crucify this Man!

But for now,  on this Palm Sunday,  they rejoiced that He was present in their midst and that they  themselves were present to sing highest praises of hosannas in His presence.

And after this day of palms?    The next day He made Himself present to the people of the city He loved.         He was present and exposed to anyone who wanted to make a case against Him.

He walked around,  He talked,  He healed,   He answered questions,   He was out in the open,  totally present to anyone who wanted to find out about Him.

Again,  present, as He is for us today,  without us  having to buy a ticket to fly to Jerusalem.

___________________________________

So being present is a two-way phenomenon.   Someone is present for you;  and you make yourself present to Someone.

Same way it always was.

 

PUZZLING IT OUT

March 24, 2016

(sorry for this unusual extended absence;  funk;  Scandinavian Funk)

So,  this is a most important week,  a most Holy Week, full of detail and meaning and mystery:

SAMSUNG

      Jesus Overlooking Jerusalem

The “mystery” is not that I have done yet another jigsaw puzzle;   the mystery is God, the Creator of all things and of all people,   prepared a special nation,  all descendants of the man named Abraham through which He, God Himself,  could take on human flesh and join True Human Nature to His Divinity.

One Person,  two natures.  That’s a mystery.

And He did it for a reason.   To come unto His own people, this special nation,  to be one among them,  and to do for them what they couldn’t do for themselves — save them from their sins and sanctify them, to make them holy for the next world.

So there is Jesus in that puzzle picture,  overlooking His city Jerusalem which He loved.

“He came unto His own,  and His own received Him not,”  we are told.

Just as His last week of life began,  He looks over the city, and with a Heart of love, weeps for the city,  knowing what will soon happen to it.    “O Jerusalem,  Jerusalem;  how often would I have gathered thee up to myself as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings….and you would not.”

I think about this scene every year that Holy Week begins.   Such love.  Such longing.  Such sorrow.

The people of Jerusalem,  in their houses down there,   the people of Judea,  and  the people of all lands “even to the ends of the earth”  belong to another.    They belong to what Jesus described as The Strong Man.

Jesus had taught that you can’t steal from a Strong Man’s house unless you first bind up the Strong Man, make him powerless,  and only then you can take away from him his possessions.

We are those possessions.   The “Strong Man”  is the enemy of God,  Satan, if you will; and the “house”  is this planet.    We can’t get up and walk away by our own power.   We can’t break out of the house.   We are  helpless, weak,  and pretty much clueless and  unwilling.

So Jesus came to “bind” that Strong Man,  and to make him powerless over us.  That’s what He’ll  be doing for the rest of this 24-hour period:   a good day,  a very good day for us.

Good Friday.

banner for Himself  3

Soon, now.

ON THIS DAY, 2,000 YEARS AGO

February 2, 2015

“Behold,  all generations shall call me blessed.”     And so they have for nearly 2,000 years.   

mother and child
“Blessed.”    Not for her sake,  but because of her Son.

I’m a “subsequent generation”  and I’m just still learning about this beautiful woman, perfect mother. and why she is indeed blessed.  Created that way by her own Son,  her Creator and ours,  her Savior and ours.

Nevertheless:
presentation

This was a busy and significant day about 2,000 years ago.  The Christmas Family traveled one day from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, where they entered the Temple in obedience to the Law.     two doves
The Law says that there is a ceremony to be performed 40 days after a woman gives birth to a son.  This family offered two little birds for the sacrifice part of the ceremony.  Sins symbolically cleansed,  the new mother is now ritually pure, in  a way which we can scarcely comprehend today,  so prejudiced can we be against people who lived before us.   Nevertheless,  this perfect mother is now accepted as ritually pure.

pidyon haben

This Son was her firstborn child.   When a firstborn is a male,  he belongs to God the Creator,  but in a charming little ceremony, the family can “ransom back”  or “buy back”  the little child from the Temple…

This ceremony of Pidyon Haben today:

pidyon haben today

…  and so keep their little son with them, to love and raise and cherish.

On this day, about 2,000 years ago, in the Temple,  this is what the Mother,  her spouse Joseph,  and the child Jesus did.

But then:

swords
This Child was not just any child.    He is the Son of God, who has just taken on our human nature,  and He came here on a mission.  Not to teach us.  Not to set up a religion.   Not to tell us how we should live.

He came here to die.

And the perfect love of a perfect Mother?

Upon hearing of an unspeakably horrible destiny for her Child,  she was not spared.   She was told that her sorrow would be so strong, it would be like a sword had pierced right into her heart.

Is she willing,  willing to go on with it?

As always:  “Fiat mihi,  secundum verbum tuum.”

Yes.

And so today,  Christendom celebrates Candlemas.   This child is “the Light that would come to enlighten the Gentiles”  too.   It’s why candles are blessed on this day, for the spreading of this Light in ceremonies throughout the coming year.     And we turn now from Christmas thoughts  to thoughts of Mission for which the Christmas Child came.