Seeing Death in the World and Speaking Life to It This Easter

New day gives us all new hope in the cross of salvation.

If Jesus stood above our city, as he once stood above Jerusalem, he likely would observe the crowds from the perch of the pedestrian overpass stretching toward the Golden Horde bazaar. He would see the one-legged beggar asking for money at the traffic light and the young prostitute going to work in a side building. He would notice the wrinkled woman sitting on a plastic crate beside a cut-up pumpkin she is selling in hopes of buying a little bit of meat for dinner.

I imagine Jesus would let himself be carried along in the throng of shoppers down the steps into the muddy, spit-strewn alleyway between stalls. He would see the young, bearded man reading his Islamic prayer book while potential customers pass by. He might linger over the round flatbread, imprinted with stars and circles, fresh from the clay ovens. He would shake hands with the old men sitting in front of the cafe.

“Jesus knew in his pierced and torn flesh the cost of my sin and theirs. And he chose to love us.”

Jesus would recognize both the strands of beauty and the private pain tangled in this small knot of humanity.

Jesus Sees

He would see the young mom who had to leave her toddlers at home by themselves so she could work to put food on their table. He would want to comfort the widow who is trying to sell a pair of hand-knitted socks, an old plate, and her deceased husband’s used shoes. He would reach out and heal the open wound of the man sprawled on the sidewalk.

His eyes wouldn’t pass over the gypsy standing with her baby, asking for a handout. He would see her. He would talk to her.

Jesus Weeps

It would be like Jesus to weep over my city, just as he wept over Jerusalem. He would lament over the few who are seeking God but don’t know where to look beyond their own tradition. He would ache at the distance between their hearts and his.

He would long to gather up the women who still fry bread each week as an offering to their ancestors. He would rescue the men who are looking for solace in alcohol or a prostitute. He would call the little children to come to him, children who every day tiptoe through brokenness, hoping to not get cut.

Jesus would embrace those who cannot love themselves, much less their own families. He would weep over the stench of death that pervades this community.

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SOURCE: Church Leaders, Sarah Alexander