Tuesday, September 24
Heed the urgent call to become a global family united in the name of Christ, committed in love to one another, seeking the kingdom for which you yearn and to which you have always been summoned. That kingdom shall be a peaceable one and it shall be known as Zion.
—Doctrine and Covenants 161:6b
On a recent business trip to Israel, I asked a colleague for a ride to Jerusalem. He dropped me by the Jaffa Gate. When I arrived it was dark. It had been a few years since I had navigated the narrow streets, but I managed to find my way past the Cardo to the Western Wall. A crowd had recently dispersed after some sort of concert or rally. I felt I had missed something important.
On my way back, I made a wrong turn. The Jaffa Gate was not in sight. I turned right. I came to another gate. I went through and read the sign: “Zion’s Gate.” My mind raced as I considered whether this hill really was “Mount Zion,” a beacon of the present and future kingdom of God for my faith community.
I explored the streets nearby and found Hagia Zion, or Holy Zion Church, and the Jewish Yeshiva Institute for the Preservation of Holy Mount Zion. Beyond a barbwire fence, I saw the minaret of a mosque. Despite all hopes for peace, Jerusalem remained a city divided. Yet from this new vantage point on Zion’s holy hill, the city’s outer walls were an apparition in golden light.
Jesus spoke of basileia tou theou, the kingdom of God, as a present reality and a hoped-for future. My unexpected nighttime discovery of Zion helped me to understand better Jesus’ teachings. As we work together as an imperfect yet transforming community, let us always see the cause of Zion as tangible, real communities to be celebrated and experienced, as well as future ideals toward which we can strive.
Prayer for Peace
Gather us in, O God, in closeness to your peaceable kingdom. Help us become a community that embraces Christ’s mission of peace.
Spiritual Practice: The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
It is always a joy to read one of our friends reflections in the Daily Bread, and remember fondly my experiences of exploring Israel. As we participate as a congregation to “WALK TO BETHLEHEM” for a new Christmas experience; picture the people living there today, and how they live. Participating in the Casa de Maria Interfaith Sukkah celebration and sitting in small groups around and within the Sukkah; i found myself very tuned in to the diverse faith traditions present, and the sincere desire for PEACE…”our hoped-for future.”. The rabbi that led us that day told about his house, and the construction of it. He wanted a door on the east, west, north and south and none should have the appearance of a “front” door…if people enter into a family living room, the kitchen, garage, or side where my office and library is….they have found the right door and are welcomed! Let the doors of our minds and heart always be open to new people and opportunities for peace to prevail. Denise