I remember so clearly those holiday visits to Radio City Music Hall when I was a boy. The great movies, the stage show, and, of course, the Rockettes. There we would be, in the heart of the big city, which itself gave us memories to last a lifetime.
You have to think about such personal experiences to appreciate the strong feelings that Jesus had for his beloved Jerusalem. For him, and for all the Jews, it was the City of God, where God lived in the midst of the people.
When Jerusalem was destroyed 40 or so years after Jesus time on earth, what did its devastation mean to them? Did it mean that God had been defeated and that God’s love was no longer with them? How did their faith survive?
Jerusalem was in complete ruins when they were reminded, especially by the prophecies of Isaiah that God had promised to renew her, to bring her back to life, and to fill her with all good things to be shared with the people. The city had been conquered and for a long time it was a dark, dreary, lifeless place — and yet the message of God was “rejoice and be expectant, for I will rebuild her and make her a place of joy and peace.”
And indeed it happened. Jerusalem was reconstructed; it became again a jewel among the cities of the world.
The power of God is such that it can bring light out of darkness, order out of chaos, abundance out of poverty, and even life out of death.
Our link to that awesome power is faith – giving God permission, as it were, to work in our world and, more than that, offering ourselves as instruments for the exercise of that power. It was for that purpose that Jesus sent the 72 disciples out into the world to bring a message of peace and a way of peace to every person, every household, every city they went to.
Our world today is filled with broken cities, some by the bombs of violence; others by rotting from the inside because of crime and addiction, oppression and greed. God is telling us not to despair, not to believe that our situation is beyond hope. Quite the opposite: all that is required is our willingness to collaborate with the divine spirit.
Dr. Christiane Northhrup, the world famous physician who specializes in women’s health issues, teaches that our very thoughts inevitably contribute to either war or peace. She says that if we angrily condemn those whose political views differ from our own, we are actually contributing to the very energy that creates and sustains war. We are functioning with an “embattled mentality,” she teaches; whereas, to create peace we must ourselves be peaceful. Dr. Northrup feels that we must do “personal disarmament,” as she calls it, concentrating on what brings peace and resisting all negativity. We must change our thoughts, she says, from those of anger, hatred, and fear, to those associated with compassion and peace. In that way only do we become a beacon of light, an uplifter, a bringer of peace.
It was the great Mahatma Gandhi who said, “When in despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.”
We have to believe that the ultimate victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and life over death is assured and that there can be no doubt about that.
In the great universal, cellular dynamic (meaning person to person) that will eventually bring about a true and lasting peace, what will you and I contribute — beginning now?