Thursday, April 23, 2009

Til We Have Built Jerusalem...

Happy St. George's Day everyone.

It's tradition on this day to sing/play Parry's Jerusalem in cathedrals and churches upon this day. In researching this post, I discovered that some clergy object because they don't class it as a hymn. For me personally, it is a song of hope... a recollection of what God is capable of, who he is... and a genuine desire to see his glory among his people here in the British Isles, as it was seen in ancient days among his people Israel (although in truth, we have God's promise to dwell within each of our hearts... which is even more amazing and humbling than following his Shekinah glory cloud around).

I also feel that Jerusalem is a pledge, a commitment to put your heart into the trim (slight nod to Shakespeare there... but it is his birthday too), to be prepared to steel yourself and do whatever it takes to envisage the dream of Jerusalem and manifest it as reality.

However, I'm quite aware that the song isn't just claimed by Christians... indeed the tune is so popular it has often been described as England's national anthem in waiting. In fact, King George V actually preferred it to God Save the King.

It has a place in the heart of so many people up and down the land... as can be seen at the climax of the Proms concerts:

During my time in Israel, I learned of various ways in which the city of Jerusalem was figuratively identified in theology.

In the time of the priest-king Melchizedek (Jerusalem's first appearance known at the time as Salem), it represented a city of hope... a place of promise for future generations.

In King David's time, it was a city of strength... a mighty fortress unassailable by it's opponents.

In the early part of Solomon's reign, Jerusalem took on the form of a queenly city... as God's relationship with his people in the old covenant, reached it's zenith. The Temple was built and the glory cloud came and resided at the heart of the city as it's people worshipped the living God.

However, it wasn't long before the crown slipped...

During the second half of his reign, Solomon fell into all the traps that God said would begin to lead his people astray... and it is during this period that the city was viewed as a prostitute city... as God's people lay down with other "gods" and erected altars above the city on the Mount of Olives.

Eventually God called his people to account and the city became a widow city, as the glory of the Lord departed and the city was destroyed... it's people being carried off into exile.

When the exile was over and Israelites returned to rebuild and occupy the city, it became a shadow city. The oldest generations who remembered the glory of the old Jerusalem, wept openly to see a lesser city built in it's place.

During the New Testament era, Christian scholars perceived Jerusalem as the rejecting city, due to the fact that the generation in the time of Christ failed to recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Following that, the city fell once more... and was seen as the rejected city.

Eventually in the time of Hadrian the city was completely ploughed into the ground and rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina... a city dedicated to pagan worship and which, due to the fierce (and understandable) Judaean insurrection... was out of bounds to all Jews.

Ahead in time, we have the hope of the future city... the New Jerusalem, a place where God will dwell with his people more intimately than ever... where he will wipe away every tear in the home of eternal celebration.

So why the history lesson?

It's quite simple really... on this day as we remember the past glories of our nation and we celebrate the idea of building Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land... the question we have to ask ourselves is what kind of Jerusalem are we building?

Are we building...

A city of hope - a place that puts it's trust in God to bring about a brighter future?

A city of strength - a place that trusts in God for it's protection and deliverance?

A queenly city - a place that has pledged it's heart to God and is living completely in the blessing that comes through a relationship with God?

Or are we in fact building...

A city that prostitutes itself - place that follows after strange gods, that looks to finance and materialism as it's ultimate saviour, or one that puts celebrities in a pantheon and ignores the tender voice of it's faithful, loving God?

A widowed city - a place that has become so detached from God, that it is called to account and sent into the desolate sands of the wilderness until it realises just what it has lost?

A shadow city - a place that remembers the things of God as little more than a memory and lives with a cultural religion... but not really a living faith?

A rejecting city - a place that doesn't love it's neighbours as itself... a place that doesn't recognise Jesus in others and willingly neglects, persecutes or abuses him by proxy in it's attitudes to others (on this national day, with regard to this point I especially think of disgusting groups such as the BNP)?

A rejected city - a place that is handed over to it's ways and abandoned to it's own doom?

A pagan city - a place that forgets it's identity in God and becomes a place of unrest, in-fighting and destruction?

Or is it the city that it should be? The city that is being built on the foundation that Christ lay down, by his death and resurrection - the New Jerusalem.

It's something I think we should think on if we are serious about singing that song a little more often than just at Rugby matches or other sporting events, or the Proms.

Have a blessed St. George's Day and may the city he is building in your heart continue to grow to his glory.


  1. Another great post Nick!! I want to be the one that builds. I think the key is to have our eye single to the Glory of God and always remember him in times of need and in times of plenty...Always have our hearts set on Him, the one who lends us breath every second of every day.

    This post makes me think of a scripture passage I am familiar with:

    yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
    Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
    And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
    O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
    Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
    Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide……Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.” Heleman 12:1-6 &23

    Our Choices

    If you had a choice, right now, to choose to be with Christ Jesus in heaven would you choose to do so? Being human and having the power of choice, can we choose to ask God to grant us a wish? You see, there are three realms, earth, heaven, and hell. We live on the earth in the now, and we believe, as Christians, that at some point Christ will return to the earth and judge us in the final days. Between now and judgement day, death will end our stay on earth and God will judge our fate when that happens.

    Christ said: "And all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive." What if, we asked God to stop this game that is being played out on earth, and grant us the one wish of living with him in heaven right now. What if, we choose to not allow Satan any more control over our lives and our future and made the decision to ask God to end this game. What if we, as human beings, with the power of choice, made a conscious decision to choose Christ Jesus, right now, over the day to day challenges and temptations that Satan offers.

    Say, if in 2015, we were able to gather 9 billion, or 8 billion or 5 billion people, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Jahovah Witnessers, Lutherians, Episcapalians, Muslims, Buddists, Hindu's, and every other worshiper, together to pray to God, asking him to bring us home. If we ask Jesus Christ to come, would he be with us??? If we asked him to bring us home to his kingdom in heaven, would we receive??? Do you want to stop playing this earthly game??? Our home is in heaven and not here on earth. Is that a challenge?? Can you see the vision???

    Christ has said: "And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened." We can ask billions of people to take one moment in time to act as one, crying out to God, our heavenly Father, "Take us home." OH GOD, take us from the land of the Pharaohs!!! Take us from the hands of evil, bring us home to your kingdom!!! Can we ask strong enough?? Can we ask hard enough?? Can we ask loud enough??? Do you believe???

    Christ said: "And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." Do we want to be filled with eternal joy?? Why have we not asked???

    Can you imagine how we can make this happen?? Can you understand the power that God has given us in order that we may choose our own destiny, right now. We don't have to wait until tomorrow, while Satan tricks and traps millions more souls into the fires of hell!!! The decision is ours. Can we choose?? Can we make this happen?? Can we start a holy movement around the world and set the date of our going home??? Or are our hearts hardened so much by this earthly realm that we can not conceive of the idea that God will grant our request???

    Christ said: " I say to you further, that if two of you shall agree on earth about anything at all for which they ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there am I in the midst of them." Christ come into the mist of millions, of billions and grant our wish!!!

    Take the poll!

    Leave a comment and express your belief!!!

    Make it happen!!!

    This is your seed, plant it and watch it grow!!

    Pass this message on to your friends and family!!

    Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love!

    Give a contribution! Donate to this cause!


The ideas and thoughts represented in this page's plain text are unless otherwise stated reserved for the author. Please feel free to copy anything that inspires you, but provide a link to the original author when doing so.
Share your links easily.