Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Jerusalem (A poetic Reflection on Matthew 23:27-39)

Daily Office Readings for Friday, December 10, 2021: AM Psalm 31; PM Psalm 35; Haggai 1:1-15; Rev. 2:18-29; Matt. 23:27-39

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!

The more I think about it,

the more I realize

Jesus wasn’t merely talking

about a city in his frame of reference

at a time long before electricity, the internet, or social media.


He was simply talking about the power of the powerful

and the powerful’s habit of misusing that power.


There was a time during the beginning of the pandemic,

when I realized the prophets would be stoned

and that all the work many of us did

trying to do our part,

and the month and a half or so

that many of us stayed home and worked from home

would be for naught,

and COVID would be here to stay.


The power was there (in the beginning, anyway)

to flatten the curve

but what it took was so uncomfortable

that those in power chose instead to pretend

that the virus was not more powerful than them.


And it didn’t matter how many of us stayed home,

How many of us wore a mask,

The handwriting on the wall

Was that more people had no intention of doing so,

And became more entrenched in their beliefs

And louder in expressing their power,

And the window for changing the course of it all

…well…it closed.

The hope of stemming it all

was dashed on the rocks

and we would have to find a new place

to store post-pandemic hopes–

–vaccines, effective treatment, mutations toward milder variants–

And they’d have to be shelved

Right next to mid-pandemic reality.


And so the messengers were stoned

And far too many

have chosen to believe those

who seem to have the best

social media dissemination skills,

over those who have the best scientific skills,

because it makes our outrage more palatable.


And at the same time,

I shook my head

at those who seemed to be

on the side

of what I felt was the righteous action

who became more interested 

in shaming and blaming

and using it to assuage their own outrage.

Sadly, where do Christians often go with it,

when we want to feel vindicated 

with our outrage?

no matter which side we are on,

it’s always Jesus and the moneychangers

in the temple

we point towards,

and say, “See?  I’m justified.”


We forget his outrage was at power

And those who held it and refused to yield it–

And instead use it as our justification

to verbally tear each other limb from limb

or retain the comfortable status quo.


When this is all over,

will we have the courage

to name our whitewashed tombs,

to heal the divides between us,

or will we choose to wallow in our self-righteousness,

whatever it happens to be,

Hold on to our outrage, whatever the source,

with ghostly white knuckles

and no room for reconciliation in our tightly clenched fists when this is all over?

Are we simply another Jerusalem? 

Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO. 


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