Texts: Isaiah 65:17-25; Luke 21:5-19
Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewist people since the 10th century B.C.E. But it has also been sacred ground for non-Jews, especially Christians. Believers, as well as non-believers, have traveled there to see where Jesus, the person, lived and walked and performed miraculous things—like changing water into wine. Without question, Jerusalem holds both historical and religious significance for many people of faith—Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Today, however, it has become a place of deep division and violence among the very people who hold it as holy ground. Daily, we are confronted with images and news reports of the intense conflict occurring in and throughout the regions surrounding Jerusalem. Indeed, modern Jerusalem presents us with a very different picture from the Holy City described in Isaiah 65. The prophet’s “glorious vision of Jerusalem as the new creation” has more accurately become a “gloomy vision of a very troubled creation.” To overlay Isaiah 65 with the images that we see today coming out of Jerusalem is nothing less than heartbreaking. The images we see hold very little joy and delight. Instead they hold weeping and cries of distress. In reality, the gospel reading from Luke more accurately depicts our current times—not just in Jerusalem, but throughout the world.