Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book of Lamentation/Consolation

In 588 B.C. the Babylonian army took Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s temple.  The prophet Jeremiah lived in a cave nearby and spent many years writing what is known as the Book of Lamentations.  He could see the ruins of the temple from where he lived and for such a devout man it must have been an absolutely heartbreaking sight.

There’s no way for me to send a message back to him.  But if I could, I'd like to pick up a phone and have a conversation that went something like this:

“Hey Jerry, it’s Kent.  Yes, this is a device which sends messages from the distant future and translates English into Hebrew, but never mind. Look Jerry, I understand that you are totally bummed out about the temple being destroyed.  That’s a tough one.  But I've got some good news for you, guy: you are going to live long enough to see that temple rebuilt and it will then stand as one of the great architectural wonders of the world for the next six centuries.

“I was afraid you were going to ask me that.  Look, Jerry, the question of rebuilding a third time is still under discussion today, 2600 years later; but here’s some consolation for you: even though the stones of that temple have been destroyed, the people of your tribe have managed to survive for 2600 years and to spread throughout the world even to lands you never even knew existed. There are those who speak Hebrew and practice Judaism in Israel even today.  Furthermore, they've kept their faith living in lands 20 times further from Jerusalem than Babylon is, and Babylon is a land only known through scholars of ancient history.  You see, faith is not about the building.”

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