Feb. 15, 2023.
Melodee and I just returned from Israel a few days ago, and it was so wonderful to see many of the holy sites. However, there was one that rather stunned me because of the sacred/profane paradox it offered.
We were sitting on some bleachers prior to going into the Garden Tomb, and the tour guide was orienting us to what we were about to see. She started her lesson talking about the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, and that most Bible scholars believe that Golgotha, which means ‘the place of a skull’ refers a cliff that has a few cave openings that resemble eye-sockets, nasal and mouth openings. And further it is believed that Jesus was crucified at the bottom of this cliff with the skull imagery behind him, rather than on “a hill far away”, as the hymn suggests. After explaining this, our tour guide pointed out that we were sitting right next to that cliff and the likely crucifixion site. And sure enough, when we looked to our right, there was a cliff with cave openings in full view only 200 yards away.
But then things got crazy, because backed up against the bottom of that skull cliff was a paved parking lot for the Jerusalem metro busses. Dozens of busses were stacked end to end; some were trying to get out; some were trying to get parked; horns were honking; it was chaos. At times it was so noisy we could hardly hear our guide talk. The very place where Jesus likely became the sacrificial lamb of the world is now completely consumed by a public transit system.
I was annoyed that someone hadn’t captured that location and created a meditation site so people could sit, look upon the place of the Savior, and recapture the wonder of their salvation. But then I was reminded that Jesus was born in a barn, spent his infancy running from the government, gave his days to the outcast, the broken and the sick, and was crucified between thieves. So why should we be surprised that his crucifixion site has now been offered to the ‘bus people’? There is something holy about this.
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 100-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.
By: David Bennett
The imagery of contrasting this holy sacred event taking place in bus parking lot is stuck in my mind. The chaos, confusion, noise, and constant disruption plays on day in and day out without stop. It is there regardless of what anyone wants. And at the same time the wonderful gift of Christ’s salvation is constantly available to all the whosoever’s that will believe in and trust Him. His precious gift is right there with all its grace, forgiveness, love, and acceptance … right in the midst of the turmoil of everyday life. How incredibly beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
By: Judy A Bauchspiess
This just gave my heart a jolt! All commentary considered; I am struck with the disrespect of this location. And it isn’t like it can be relocated either! It kind of leaves me feeling frustrated and powerless. And yet, nothing will ever be done about it. I sort of have the same feelings about the senseless crime we are seeing in our world today. There are people on this planet who are hell-bent on creating anarchy, upset and disarray. In the middle of these painful despicable things are we who call ourselves Christians who have no tricks up our sleeves to stop the madness. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this goes on. These anarchists have created websites for the sole purpose of causing the suffering we see now. They whip the weak up into political or social frenzy and what comes of it is the kind of madness we are living in now. How utterly sad.
By: Sandy Johnson
Wow! To be sitting at the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and wish there was calm and quiet for reflection is probably how most of us would respond. I love how Jesus gently reminds us of why He came, to serve the outcasts and the broken. This fits with the Jesus Story I’ll be speaking on tonight, Paul and Silas Are Put in Jail. The focus the Lord has given me to share is the servanthood of Jesus and how we are called to demonstrate His life to the people around us. Paul set a great example of that in this story. May Jesus never stop redirecting my focus back to the call to demonstrate His life to the broken and hurting around me!
By: Steven Curry
Hmmm, sounds like our lives today. Chaos next to something so impactful. I noticed you said that “when we looked to our right, there was a cliff with cave openings in full view only 200 yards away”. How often do we miss things of importance when they’re right next to us. The chaos is covering our eyes and hearts. Time to get rid of the clutter.
Steven Curry, The Table @ Westport