1At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." 32He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' 34Jerusalem, 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! 35See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Thank goodness our God is a God of restoration and not one that is quick to toss and replace. Remember, the toss and replace strategy was attempted once, with the flood in Genesis. God wasn’t a big fan of that method and promised us that it would never happen again.
In this reading from Luke’s gospel, I get the impression that Jesus saw Jerusalem as a bit of a “fixer-upper.” The city was once great, shiny and new, but time, corruption and greed had not been kind to it. Once the center of worship and holiness, Jerusalem over time has developed a bit of a record for being intolerant and dangerous to those who speak on God’s behalf. God waits patiently to “gather her brood under her wings.”
As I said, I’m glad God is a God of restoration. Personally, I find much more joy and satisfaction in restoring and fixing something that has been neglected and worn down by time and the elements than I do by simply buying something new from the nearest mega-store. There is more history, more character to something that has been around for a few decades.
Like Jerusalem, we might be a bit of a fixer-upper, but we are restored by God. We aren’t discarded and replace by a better, shinier version of ourselves. We still carry the scars and marks of time, but we are given another chance. Another opportunity to serve. We are given new life and purpose.
Forgiving God, we thank you for restoring us. Be with us as we work to restore brokenness in our world. Amen.
Rev. Lou Peters – Fairbanks Lutheran Church, Fairbanks