Devotion, 5-17-14, Jerusalem

forgot to attach pictures!#1 is view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
#2 is olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (the name means "olive pressing place"
#3 is the stone said to be where Jesus prayed in the Garden
#4 is a portion of the Greek Orthodox side of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem – much of the ancient church is covered in scaffolding as they are repairing the roof.

On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 2:47 PM, Joyce Alexander <ejalex406> wrote:

Luke 19: 28 – 42

28After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

41As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

I read this passage this morning, as we were on the bus, going up to Jerusalem, as Jesus went up to Jerusalem. We followed the footsteps of pilgrims from ancient times until now, going to Jerusalem to worship. We worship in different ways – and with all our senses. Today we worshiped actively, walking down the Palm Sunday walk, from the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus would have done as he went into the city. And we smelled the incense in the Orthodox churches, and knelt and touched stones – where Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, and where Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives and looked down over the city, and he wept, for he knew the city would be destroyed (it was, in 70 AD). He wept, for there would be no peace in Jerusalem. Even today, peace in this part of the world is precious and rare. We see the walls around Bethlehem, hear the history of the region, see soldiers everywhere, and we recognize that peace here is a fragile thing, and always has been.

When Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, it was a “high place”. The “High Places” seems to have been a theme of this journey. This poem is about the “High places”:

High Places

We have been

to the high places –

where ancient cities

watched the valleys

where armies marched.

We have been

to the high places –

where Elijah

defeated the prophets

of Baal.

We have been

to the high places –

where Jesus sat

on the mountain

and taught.

We have been

to the high places –

where Jeroboam

set an idol for the

people to worship.

We have been

to the high places

where we hear

the still small voice

and sense

the presence of God.

We must take care

who we worship,

what voice we listen for

when we go

to the high places.

Jesus went

to a high place

a cross on a hill,

and he died

for us.

Jesus arose

from the depth

of the tomb,

and returned

to the high places

of Galilee.

Jesus is the one

we want to meet

when we go

to the high places.

Joyce Alexander, 5-17-14

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