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First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14

 10Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,   all you who love her;  rejoice with her in joy,   all you who mourn over her—  11that you may nurse and be satisfied   from her consoling breast;  that you may drink deeply with delight   from her glorious bosom.  12For thus says the Lord:  I will extend prosperity to her like a river,   and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;  and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,   and dandled on her knees.  13As a mother comforts her child,   so I will comfort you;   you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;   your bodies shall flourish like the grass;  and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants,   and his indignation is against his enemies.

Today’s entry is again from my colleague and friend, Rev. Phil Heinze, on his weblog “Living the Lectionary.”

Isaiah might be enamored by Jerusalem’s anatomy but I’d rather be consoled in Paris. On the other hand no city in the world seems to attract as much attention as Jerusalem, which sadly has not been the source of much rejoicing. Jerusalem, which means the city of peace, has more often been a city of sorrow.

Isaiah’s vision of the exile’s return to Jerusalem to be nursed and carried on her arm and dandled on her knees was not realized and even the rejoicing of Zionist exiles reclaiming the Promised Land was short lived because of the violence and bloodshed that greeted their return.

In our time devout Jews gather at the Wailing Wall to pray for the restoration of the temple as Palestinian Christians weep at walls that surround and separate them from the part of the Promised Land that is their home, and all the while God weeps over the plight of all people who love Jerusalem. But in the dream of God’s design those who rejoice in her and those who mourn because of her will both be comforted by her. In the dream of God’s design Jerusalem is for all people a place of peace where the feast that never ends will begin.

It may be that we have to do more than pray for the peace of Jerusalem for the dream of God’s design to come true, but not by denying the right of Jewish people to live in safety or by denying the real plight of the Palestinian people imprisoned in their own land.

The hatred that exists and is the cause of such suffering will only be overcome when each sees in the other the dream of God’s design. And when God’s dream comes true Paris, although full figured, will play second fiddle to Jerusalem, the real city of amour.

Let us pray: Almighty God, we pray for peace in our troubled world. Send your love and your wisdom so that peace may reign. We pray this in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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