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Posts Tagged ‘jerusalem’

March can be quite a conundrum of a month. Truly it is, or can be a month of contrasts, when one considers the weather. It is often a gentle month, with both warm and cool co-habitating in our days, our nights.

It is a month of new life, emerging from every living thing. It is a month of possible wearing toe-less shoes in the day, and snuggling under a warm blanket at night. It is a month of lengthening daylight, but dark shadows still emerging. March is a month of looking forward, to the warmth of summer, to the freedom that summer’s schedule can bring.

March is a month of dreaming of what is to come, while under the warmth of what was promised in the frigid winter months.

Just yesterday we, in the Christian church, celebrated the Triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the city of peace, which has, historically, rarely been peaceful, has also been a place of contrasts.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, entering into the city of peace. The people, laying clothes and palm branches at his feet, in awe of this new king, who had been promised to give them freedom, to give them peace.

Just outside of the city, Mount Moriah. The mountain climbed by Abraham, in obedience (and trust) to God’s request that Abraham take his only son, Isaac, to sacrifice on an alter. The sacrifice, normally made with a perfect (spotless) lamb. Spotless, clean … to atone for something dirty, marred.

On that mountain, God had asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his own son, as the only atonement for his sins. Abraham, in his trust of his God, did what was expected of him … and then God provided a substitute, a young ram.

And now, this Easter week, we see contrasts again.

A father preparing for the sacrifice of his son, but this time, there is no other substitute.

“and he is the propitiation (atonement, sacrifice)
for our sins:
and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the world.”

1 John 2:2

March, and Easter, in like a lamb …

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“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

When I read the above quote by Friedrich Nietzsche I was certain that it was an example of Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

4_dont-let-the-rocks-cry-out

Nietzsche, a brilliantly knowledgeable man who lived in Europe in the mid to late 1800’s, did not believe in absolute truth. Although born to parents who sought a life of faith with Christ (his father a Lutheran pastor), Friedrich believed that, “Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life’s nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in “another” or “better” life (Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy). An atheist most of his life, Nietzsche is probably most known for the phrase, “God is dead,” which is included in a couple of his books.

The passage from Luke 19 is the story of Jesus entering into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey (much as his mother who rode into Bethlehem on one, carrying Him in her womb). The people thought that He would fulfill the hope that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once (v. 11).

As He came close to the city people were shouting”

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (v.38)

It is then that the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

They did not get it. Although, like Nietzsche ,they were probably very well educated, knowledgeable men, probably even men who were raised with the law, and the stories of generations past, they did not believe that Jesus was indeed who He said He was. They thought that the crowd, no doubt a large and loud crowd, were claiming Jesus as the royalty that the Pharisees did not believe was king.

They saw Jesus as a man, they did not see him as their Savior.

It reminds me of when the ark was being brought into Jerusalem. David, like this crowd hundreds of years later, could not contain his excitement that the ark of the covenant was coming into his holy city, it was coming … home. As David removed his royal robes, Michal (Saul’s daughter) was disgusted by David’s ‘unkingly’ public behavior.

Michal,

like the priests,

like Nietzsche

could not see how worth celebrating

the God of the promise,

the God of redemption,

the God of Creation.

Why David danced as the ark entered Jerusalem, and the crowds of people sang as Jesus entered the same was

simply

completely

sincerely

thanksgiving.

May the beautiful and great art of our singing and dancing always be with thanksgiving!

Otherwise,

the rocks will cry out!

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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