How does one get a handle on “Jerusalem”? capital city, spiritual home, the Temple, kingdom buried in the ground waiting to bloom? There’s no replacement for it, no back-up, nowhere else to go, no other where at all. When it’s trashed and looted so are its people; when it’s gone, all is gone. The only center there is—of faith, life, and worship; the access point to the Holy One, the source of identity for persons, tribes, a whole people. No words can get arms around it, this “Jerusalem.” So exile is nothing…there is no home any more, is there? It’s all exile now.
But…who can loot our hope? Who can strike out the memory? Trash the music of our hearts and souls? That’s still ours, even sitting here in the muddy shores of Babylon—whatever Babylon you’re stuck in there’s the memory and hope of Jerusalem, maybe not the old, but some other, perhaps new, Jerusalem.
That hope lives above and beyond a place, maybe even outside that Temple? Those who did this will suffer, even their babes will be smashed. Can we say that to God? Blast him with our own trashy vulgar and hate-filled talk? Catharsis maybe, or maybe the only way to hang on to hope, by handing off the revenge, the justice, the slaughter of infants that all this deserves.
Ever hope when there is no reason to any more? when the addiction is eating away everything? when the mind is flapping away in the wind? when death looks like the best option? when revenge is eating you up? when you’re the last of a long line left here alone? That’s God stirring around…waiting for your prayer, waiting for your giving it all up to him, all of it, everything but that little pin prick of hope for tomorrow. He’s stirring around…waiting.