Friday, November 7, 2008

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who would kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings....." Luke 13:34

Over the last few days I have been working on a project for my aunt and family. My aunt has a collection of old family pictures, and I am scanning them into my computer and trying my best to restore the images so they can be viewed by the present and future family members. Some of these photos have been locked away for years. Some of these photos have been taped to an album, ripped, torn or folded over the years. Some have clear notations on the back, some have none, and occasionally some ancestor or other will have written a sweet note on the back of them. The faces are young and old, stern and laughing, joyous and pained. The landscapes are lush and barren, recording old homes and strange continents. I am captured by the reality of these individuals and try to imagine their lives with all the joys and sorrows. Of course, I know some of these people and know some of the good things they have done, along with some of the horrible things that constitute their lives. Looking at them, many staring at me from long dead places, I see the little tiny children I never knew. I am looking at them as I couldn't imagine them -small, weak, vulnerable, precious and beautiful.

There is brokenness and harm, along side beauty and generosity in every generation. Jesus sees Jerusalem, past and present, with the eyes of a loving parent who wishes to gather up offspring and protect them. The desire to shield them from the harshness of life and what they might do to themselves, is an aching desire of all parents. Jesus looks on them and aches to hold them. I look on my ancestors and ache likewise, seeing many for the first time as the vulnerable, challenged children that they truly were.

Today, I pray for that compassion. For the eyesight that comes from the heart. For an ability to understand what is behind the false front. And the wisdom to not hide behind my false front, but instead, to welcome the prophets and strangers God sends my way. I pray that we might all look on our neighbors and community as Christ looked on Jerusalem. With the aching heart of a loving parent, may we go forth into the world today, knowing that we go with God.

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