Half way down the Mount of Olives, on the hillside overlooking Jerusalem, you will find the church of Dominus Flevit. It is the site thought to be where Jesus looks out over Jerusalem and weeps.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34)
As you enter the church you will find this mosaic image in the floor, of a hen gathering her chicks under the protection of her wings. It is an image that captures both the strong and comforting protection of a mother over her children, as well as the vulnerability of the chicks. As we enter into the season of Lent, like entering into a chapel overlooking Jerusalem, we take in the grandeur of God’s love and the beauty of this world, and of our relationship with God, and with others. But we also take in the frailty of life, the frailty of intentions, of human bonds, even of human life. We look out over our lives and out over the world much in the same way that Jesus looked out over Jerusalem. As Jesus looks over Jerusalem he is struck by the discrepancy between God’s hopes and goodwill for God’s people and the turmoil and trouble of reality, and it causes him to weep.
I invite you to journey through lent together. That we may proclaim both the bold, extravagant and abundant love of God, while also facing the frailty and brokenness of this world, some of which we know in our lived experiences, and some of which we have kept at a distance. But we grieve it. And in doing so, we open ourselves up to the grace of God more, and learn from Jesus how to hold this tension, and how to walk in it, and how to be sign of love and grace in a broken and grief-filled world.
Grace and Peace,