O Holy City of the East. I miss your ancient stories told in the white rock. The mountains of war, blasphemy, peace, transformation and yearning for the Promised Land. Where Christ stepped, I and we stepped. We met on the beach of Galilee, “Feed my sheep.”
We met and were fed by the miracle of the fish and bread. We were taught the “Our Father” and the Beatitudes.
We betrayed Christ and affirmed our love for Him.
We built the high places, but allowed Him to tear them down.
We smote the priests of Baal with Elijah on Mt. Carmel, witnessing God’s wrath toward sin.
We walked the streets of Jerusalem in sorrow and adoration. Surrounded by olive trees and whispers of olive presses, we prayed with Christ in His agony. We finally touched Golgotha, the mount of sacrifice.
Heaven meets earth in those places. It is beautiful agony. I am with you until the end of the age. Coming in the clouds.
You handed me peace with eternity.
Placing the branch in my hand—my heart leapt within me for the salvation of your soul.
While I lived at home in 2004, in exile from the world, cloistered in the woods of New Jersey, I had a vivid dream. I was in Jerusalem. I walked in a dry and hot place. It was nearing evening, but the sky was red. I walked a path toward a city. But devils were taunting me; wicked-looking children with grotesque faces. When they touched me, they seared my skin. I came to a graveyard. In part of the dream I was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Toward the end of the dream I was myself. I walked amongst the tombstones. They were all lying flat on the ground. I was walking in circles and stepping on the stones. I stopped on a stone that had an icon of Mary on it. Then I was in the present and weeping because my father was dying or I was dying (in the dream). I wanted to tell a friend what was going on, but he was sleeping. I wanted others to understand my pain and my sorrow.
Looking back, some things come to light. The Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus wept and was in agony, sweating blood asking for this cup to pass. When I was with my dad in New Jersey, some of my friends slept while I prayed and was in agony. I wanted the cup of sorrow and stress and a journey of pain to pass, but I accepted God’s will. The sky red and the heat may have represented the strife of my soul, nearing despair. It seemed like despair, but it was a purgation in the dark night of the soul. The red representing the light of Jupiter, joviality, joy, a kingly presence. Though I was in a desert spiritually and physically spent, the king of life was in the midst of my sorrow. My tongue tasting only dust. My bones peaking through flesh. Heaviness upon my shoulders. The king of joy was present through suffering. Though suffering spends the night, joy comes in the morning. I was mourning myself in the dream, dying to myself. Death comes physically, but death also comes when we choose Christ; we die with him in the water and rise with him. Baptism. The old man (Adam) dies in us, daily. We rise with Christ, the new Adam. We are rising as new creatures in Christ. The blood moon, the red-stained sky. It is the end of ourselves. That we may rise with the King of life in the New Jerusalem. The City of Eternal Life where with the saints, Mary and the King, Jesus Christ reigns eternal. We rejoice after the long road of suffering and divine love. With all the company of heaven, we live bodily where time no longer exists. But only true Reality with the true God.
The New Jerusalem will be home. While we are in exile here, we see glimpses of the remade world, how things should have been, despite the Fall. We long for home. We long for the cosmos to be remade. It has been, it is, and it will be remade. The world died at the cross. Christ is the life of the world and the world killed him. At Christ’s bodily resurrection, the world is being remade. As the Church, we work with God to remake it. We gratefully accept it, but we give it back to God that He may redeem it. The world cannot be remade, but by Christ. This sounds contradictory. But those who are followers of Christ are the one’s in Christ carrying on the mission of Christ. This is not utopia building, but the Kingdom of God. For God has the final say; it is His kingdom. We are those forgiven and being perfected to trod among the saints with Christ. God is our end. Our desires transformed by Christ in his grace to love the good, to love God to desire to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Only by Christ, in Christ can this happen. He is our life and our perfection. Lord, purge me of impurity. Give me purity of heart, humility, a hunger for your righteousness, and your grace to do these. To see your face.