Monday, June 28, 2010

Pentecost 6c - Isaiah 66:10-14

Isaiah might be enamored by Jerusalem’s anatomy but I’d rather be consoled in Paris. On the other hand no city in the world seems to attract as much attention as Jerusalem, which sadly has not been the source of much rejoicing. Jerusalem, which means the city of peace, has more often been a city of sorrow. Isaiah’s vision of the exile’s return to Jerusalem to be nursed and carried on her arm and dandled on her knees was not realized and even the rejoicing of Zionist exiles reclaiming the Promised Land was short lived because of the violence and bloodshed that greeted their return. In our time devout Jews gather at the Wailing Wall to pray for the restoration of the temple as Palestinian Christians weep at walls that surround and separate them from the part of the Promised Land that is their home and all the while God weeps over the plight of all people who love Jerusalem. But in the dream of God’s design those who rejoice in her and those who mourn because of her will both be comforted by her. In the dream of God’s design Jerusalem is for all people a place of peace where the feast that never ends will begin. It may be that we have to do more than pray for the peace of Jerusalem for the dream of God’s design to come true, but not by denying the right of Jewish people to live in safety or by denying the real plight of the Palestinian people imprisoned in their own land. The hatred that exists and is the cause of such suffering will only be overcome when each sees in the other the dream of God’s design. And when God’s dream comes true Paris, although full figured, will play second fiddle to Jerusalem, the real city of amour.


  1. This seems a fitting addition to Pentecost, though perhaps for reasons not obvious. The problem with Jerusalem is what religion has done to it. Jews, Christians and Muslims have made it a battle ground because all have decided to place their hope in a place rather than in their God. There may have more evil done in the name of Jerusalem by religious zealots than for any other city. The 'city of peace' it is not. In our era and in our own country we see the idiocy continue, as we're confronted with "evangelicals" who somehow have come to tie the restoration of Jerusalem to Christ's return. So, any manner of evil can be done, any amount of evil and suffering brought down upon innocent children in the name of religion; in the name of mechanical and soul-less religion.
    The zealots miss it because they miss much of the heart of God. It's the same kind of thinking that motivated the crucifixion of Jesus. Those who murdered the Son of God did so because they were looking for a different kind of Messiah than the one God had in mind for them. They wanted one who would restore Jerusalem to earthly prominence, as in the time of the Kings, and what they got was this guy who talked about love and servanthood.
    The Pentecost connection comes for me in reading Isaiah 66 through the lens of the Spirit. Perhaps Jeremiah wrote it best: "I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

  2. Well said, Greg. I didn't make it part of the post but I experienced a profound sadness as I read the Isaiah text and thought about the past and present suffering in the city of peace. Thanks for your pentecostal post.