City of peace?
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who 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, and you were not willing..." Matthew 23.37
If Jesus wept over Jerusalem back in the days when he trod her streets, what can he be thinking now? Day after day, night after night the violence continues - as it has done off and on through the centuries. And as witnesses, through social media, what are we to do ourselves? How can we respond constructively, meaningfully?
We must lift Jerusalem and her citizens - Jews, Palestinians, others - in our prayers of course. But not in a forlorn or helpless way but seeking justice not retribution, reconciliation not a retreat into the former stand-off. And we must do so humbly, recognising that the same partisan tendencies lurk in our own hearts, that we are similarly prone to take sides, seek revenge, assert ourselves. There but for the grace of God...
No wonder we long for the "new" Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven like a bride - radiant and beautiful, not scarred and ugly as the old one is becoming. But let's not wait idly or forlornly. If we wish our prayers to have integrity, if we desire that others, let along God, take us seriously, let us become advocates for peace - peace-builders even - where we are now: in our families, our communities, our churches, our workplaces. For our ultimate allegiance is to the Prince of Peace himself.