I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32, NIV1984

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oh, Israel, do you know?

I scurried about this week, busy with the business of my days. Clothes to wash, meals to prepare, lessons to plan, and what will I wear to that wedding? Cancel that appointment, schedule the haircut, get out the door to make it to practice on time. Don't forget to fill out the paperwork before the first meeting, and remember to take those test results when you go to see the specialist. Did anyone let the dog out?  Feed the cat? Clean the fishbowl? Get the mail? Check that message? And, oh! This Sunday is Easter!

And somewhere in the midst of the scurry, I slowed to wonder if the self-absorbed scramble of my present was somehow reminiscent of the past.

I wondered if that week of Passover, in Jerusalem, when the Promised One came riding in on the foal of a donkey and they cried, "Hosanna!"  ("Save now!") . . .

... I wondered if they then returned to the busy business of their days, preparing for the Feast, sweeping the specks from the corners of their homes and tossing the yeast from their kitchens, but missing the planks in their eyes, forgetting the leaven in their hearts, and looking right past the One who came to fulfill the very Feast for which they prepared.

I've been finding planks in my own eye, stubborn leaven in my heart.

And I've been praying that God would give me eyes like His eyes, that He'd give me a heart like His, that He'd teach me to love like He does the people He calls the apple of His eye.

I stood in that city, Jerusalem, just two weeks ago.  City buzzing with laughter and life.  City that has captured my heart and never fails to take my breath away.

A little girl chases a ball in the Jewish quarter, another walks with her grandfather through the souks, up cobbled paths, and through the crowd. Old men argue at tables along the way, and shopkeepers call out that they have the best price on that item you're not sure you'll ever need.  Soldiers patrol the streets of the city, and families wander the ancient paths. The city is alive with life and all this living.  But do they know the One who died that they might live?

Do they know, as they remember the Passover this weekend, the One who is our Passover Lamb?

Do they know that, after his sweat poured like blood in the garden of the pressing, that place we know as Gethsemane, Gat-Sh'manin, the "oil press" - where the olive trees grow still and the oil once flowed from olives crushed in the press -

- do they know that He hung on a cross at the place of the skull, Golgotha, and a woman wept as the blood of her son soaked the earth beneath His pierced hands and feet?

Do they know - as they pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as they press their prayers into the Wall - do they know this One who is the Prince of Peace?  

Have they heard, as they touch the mezuzah at Zion Gate and remember: Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad, (Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One) that the One God gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him might have eternal life?

As the sun slips away beneath the western sky tonight, I remember those waking soon in Jerusalem. Do they know that the One they've waited for so long is longing for them now to know He lives?

Then the angel spoke to the women.
"Don't be afraid," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  
He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen."  
Matthew 28:5-6, NLT

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