Thursday, 17 November 2016

Week 33 Thursday (Year 2)

Readings: Revelation 5:1-10; Psalm 149; Luke 19:41-44

There is a Jewish saying that when God distributed suffering he gave one tenth of it to the rest of the world and nine tenths to Jerusalem. So too when God distributed joy he gave one tenth of it to the rest of the world and nine tenths to Jerusalem. When the Eternal Son, God's wisdom through whom all things were made, comes to Jerusalem, he weeps. But his weeping is part of a work that will give Jerusalem a new and deeper beauty, a new and eternal joy. For Christians, who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, his experience in Jerusalem reveals the deepest beauty of that 'city of peace', for he comes to bring peace, finally, to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, the place in which the salvation of the human race has been accomplished, still presents the world with this question: 'who will save us from this valley of death?' Who will make peace in the city of the king of peace? For it seems, at times, that the Jewish saying continues to be fulfilled, Jerusalem the place of greatest beauty for most of the world's believers, Jerusalem the place of enduring tension and hatred and suffering for countless people.

The readings today speak of the tears of Jesus as he gazes on Jerusalem and of the tears of the seer in the Apocalypse, who 'weeps and weeps' 'because there is no one to open the scroll and reveal the truth about the world and its history. But the Lamb now appears as the one who can do this. Into the great apocalyptic visions of strange creatures and a mighty God and a cosmos being refashioned, enters the figure of a Lamb, one of the gentlest, most fragile, and most vulnerable of creatures. And this Lamb appears as if sacrificed. He is the one who unlocks the secrets of history and reveals the mind of God for creation.

The Lamb who is the Lion is the paradoxical resolution of history's conflicts. He is the end of history, its goal and destination, its purpose and meaning. The Lamb who is the Lion has the power to open the book and break its seals. The key with which he does it is the love and obedience of his paschal journey. The one who has been sacrificed, whose sacrifice is the foundation of the world and its history, reveals the full sadness, and the full glory, of Jerusalem. He opens the door for us into the heavenly Jerusalem where there will be no more tears and no more sadness, but only joy and grace and thanksgiving and glory and honour and a strange power.

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