Archive for March 27th, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

Isaiah 50:6: The Universal Message

He gave his back to those who beat him, his cheeks to those who plucked his beard.  Isaiah 50:6

Jerusalem: The Jaffa Gate

Jerusalem: The Jaffa Gate – For a panoramic view, click on the image and use the tools

What a strange movement this Christ and his followers have begun.  Jesus tells us that we must give so that we might receive, we must die so that we might live, and we must love everyone, even those who wish to see the end of us.  We have a startling newness mixed with an old fidelity. The ancient Shema calls God’s children to give themselves over totally to the God who created them.  The new Law of Love requires only one action of us: that every thought, word and deed come from God’s love alone.  The prophet Isaiah foresees great conflict but it leads to great joy.

Jerusalem has witnessed the arrival and departure of many who would be great.  She has sheltered the dispossessed and given over her citizens to determined raiders.  She has seen dreams rise and fall.  Her walls have held invading hordes at bay and her gates have fallen open too easily, succumbing to the enemy from within.  She has been the epicenter of the world and she has been a trash heap impossible to traverse on horseback.  There is nothing that she has not seen, no fear she has not felt in her belly, no hope she has not lifted to heaven.  And so we find, as we first thought a few days ago, that Jerusalem is a larger than life version of our own lives.  There is no sin she has not committed, no incident she has not tried to hide, no celebration she has not proudly shown to the world and still she persists, held closely as a sacred place by three great religions . . . and it is this universal Jerusalem that plays out the story of our lives, this Jerusalem that shows us – if we look – how we might find redemption beyond suffering.

Paging through this long story of Jerusalem can bring us closer to God; the city offers us herself when she holds up a mirror so that we might see our own defects and virtues, our vices and hopes.  She brings us a universal message of fall and rise – a message we do not want to miss in this most holy of weeks.

For a panoramic view of the Jaffa Gate, click on the image above or go to: http://www.samrohn.com/360-panorama/jaffa-gate-jerusalem/

For more on the ancient Hebrew prayer, type the word “Shema” into the blog search box and choose a reflection. 

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