Jerusalem

   Jesus, in maturity, holds no illusions about Jerusalem, (Matt. 23:37). Jerusalem, it is where the prophets die and men decry the solicitude of God Godself.

   Yet, Jesus was always going to Jerusalem. He went there for the first recorded time at age twelve. He was looking into the family business. He asked such good questions the rulers of the Temple took note of Him. With better marketing management, Jesus could have been a contender.

   Still, Jerusalem is that place where religious double dealing trumps religious tolerance. The Romans keep the Holy Garments of the High Priest, so the House of Annas/Caiphas becomes the devil the Romans know, so they don’t have to relate to the devil they don’t know. Historical precedent twists torturously in the wind, like a naked man hung on a tree.

   Jesus is always going to Jerusalem. The Temple is there. Jesus looks at the Temple like a mirror. He sees it like His own Body, predicts its dissolution and reconstruction in Himself. Jews go to the Temple. Jesus is a different kind of Jew, who will write the Law on hearts instead of stone. To tear down leads to the rising up Jesus predicts. The math never really works with Him.

   Jerusalem is a place for religion as banquet, whether somber or festive. One day you ride into the city while wild crowds throw their clothes in front of you. The next day, not so much. Religious parties, unfortunately, always have their ulterior purpose, like all other galas, for they are symbolic of some past event. The religious want to remember their days of power, when God seems to spring from the earth beneath their feet to do their bidding. The event becomes the memory becomes the focus of the festival becomes the exaggerated, ascending rumor of the glory of bygone days.

   Still, Jesus always goes to Jerusalem. There is even a last time for His going to which He sets His face. Jesus, in maturity has no illusions about Jerusalem.

  What was His expression of face on that last trip? Did His handlers want Him to smile more or use non-threatening gestures? Did they tell Him this was the time to seize power? Did they tell Him to strike with the hot iron?

    Or, more likely, did He remember the first Christmas, when the Prime Resident of Jerusalem sent to kill Him?  Certainly, the fellows with Him knew He was going to die. They even thought they would die with Him, the last time in Jerusalem.

   Although, if you believe the later part of the story, He is coming back to Jerusalem again, some time, under very changed circumstances.

"God, this Advent season,

I don’t want to be from Jerusalem,

which slayeth the prophets.

I don’t much want to be from Bethlehem,

where there was no room for You inside.

Can You give me citizenship,

for this season,

to some place where You are welcome

and where there is room for You?

Or do I already have that citizenship

and am I one of those commissioned to make

a place of welcome inside for You?"

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