Posted by: morgan1965 | April 6, 2009

Walking With Jesus in Jerusalem

What was it like for Jesus when he made his way into the Holy City, Jerusalem? The bible describes his final entry into Jerusalem as a triumphal entry [Luke 19:28-39]. Jesus entered the city riding on a borrowed colt. As Jesus road along the road, people kept throwing their cloaks on the road in his path. “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it.” [Luke 19:41]

Some very special events happened during the ensuing days of this memorable Jerusalem visit: a shared meal with the disciples; foot-washing; and intimate confrontation. Jesus, however, was crucified in Jerusalem before the week ended.

Jerusalem could be any American city – Philadelphia, PA., Charleston, WV, Washington, DC, Morgantown, WV, or Pittsburg, PA. Like Jesus, we often are compelled to weep over our cities, villages and towns. We weep over the mass murders, poverty, homelessness, hunger and other forms of destruction.

As I celebrate Palm Sunday 2009, I am reminded that Martin Luther King, Jr. also had his Jerusalem experience when he went to Memphis, Tennessee in1968. He initially went to stand in solidarity with the striking city sanitation workers. He briefly left town when violence erupted during a demonstration that he was leading, but he soon returned. When King returned to Memphis he met his death at the hands of an assassin on April 4, 1968.

When our tour bus approached Jerusalem a few weeks ago, the tour guide, a Christian, played a recording of The Holy City Jerusalem by Frederick Weatherly. The second verse says:

And then me thought my dream was changed,
The streets no longer rang.
But with a glad Hosanna
The little children sang.
The sun grew dark with mystery,
The morn was cold and chill,
But the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.

Jesus walked the road that is meant for you and me. Jesus walks the road with us, and we are never alone.

Weatherly wrote a third verse that gives us hope in the midst of Holy Week and troubled times. The dream was not over:

Then once again the scene was changed,
The new earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the timeless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide;
And all who would might enter
And no one was denied.
No need of moon nor stars by night
Or sun to shine by day,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

We can join in chorus and sing Hosanna for ever more.

When Jesus enters into the scene there is a new creation. The result is shiny new lives and new cities, new Jerusalem’s.

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Responses

  1. I was blessed to be with the group that journeyed to Jerusalem with the Bishop. Seeing Jerusalem sent chills through my spirit and a tapestry of emotions in my heart. I was so awe inspired as I looked out over the ancient city and recalled in my mind the stories that I have read over and over again. I could picture the crowds lining up and waving the palm branches as Jesus made his way to the city. The shouts of “Hosanna” probably echoed through the hills and the valleys, bringing curiosity seekers into the streets to see what the commotion was all about. I could see it all as I stood on the Mount of Olives and retraced the Palm Sunday story in my mind.
    I am thankful for a safe journey and I am thankful that I was able to walk the streets where Jesus walked.

  2. The Weatherly song, “The Holy City”, has been one of my favorites since a child in First United Methodist Church, Parkersburg. In recent years I have shared the singing of that song at church on Palm Sunday. That was a tradition from my home church by one of the tenors in the church choir. Powerful words, powerful images, and special message.

  3. This trip, a Journey Through The Bible was the seventh time I have to the “Holy City.” And everytime the guide puts on that song “Jerusalem” tears come to my eyes. The first time I heard it, I was on a bus coming up from Jericho and the guide put the tape on just as we topped the hill and there was Jerusalem, both old and new, spread out before us. As tears rolled down my face, I said to Bonnie, my wife, ” I feel like I am coming home. And it has been so every time I have been there. And when we gather around the place in Bethlehem where tradition says Jesus was born, and we sing a carol and have a prayer, it is one of the most moving experiences of my life.

    Don’t wait for the Bishop to invite you, although is a real treat to travel with him. Go to Jerusalem, walk the via dolorosa, go to Bethlehem, stroll along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Your life will never be the same again! Thanks bishop for helping us relive our Holy Land experience.


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