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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Psalm 48 – The Mountain of God - A theology of Jerusalem in free verse


To the Misted Mountain again we go
a hero’s journey far to the north
across desperate plains and mystic fields
to the mountain,
            Olympus, Aqraa, Zaphos, Eden,
to the mountain Zion,
            the cosmic mountain at the heart of the North.

A mountain whose head is lifted high into the heavens,
whose peak pierces the clouds.
On its snow capped pinnacle beyond the clouds
dwell the gods in the city of God,
the sons of God in the palace of the Most High,
and there forever in perpetual worship
and service they sing praise.

Who may ascend to your holy hill?
Who may dwell upon your holy mountain?

We tremble at the base of the mountain,
            afraid to proceed.
Yahweh is king and the people tremble.
Peals of thunder and flashes of lightning upon the mountain,
a trumpet blast and dense cloud of smoke and fear,
it is an eruption of presence.

For here the Lord is enthroned,
here the Lord is encircled by the living creatures
            (six-winged manoxlioneagles burning like bronze with faces of a thousand eyes)
Cherubim and Seraphim who shout
Holy, holy, holy
until the heavens are rent and the earth is broken.

Here is the holy mountain, towering in beauty,
towering in terrible beauty
the terrible beauty of holiness.
Here is the holy mountain, towering in beauty,
the joy of the whole world
and we will proceed.
 What we have come to is the holy mountain,
the mountain of God,
Mount Zion and the city of the living God.
God himself lives here.

God himself lives here,
and we have stepped into his world,
onto his mountain, his holy hill,
in complete confidence,
boldly entering the sanctuary of his presence.
And so, look around, look at Zion,
walk right through.
Admire her walls, admire her towers
examine the alabaster palaces,
and number the gates, each inscribed
with the names of the holy apostles.
Sit beside the river that flows through the center
and lounge in her pleasant garden;
the holy mountain towering in beauty.

Diamond and gold and lapis lazuli
turquoise and emerald, topaz and pearl,
all manner of precious stone;
she is the holy mountain towering in beauty.

The nations come to her,
and kings have assembled.
Conspiring kings have made alliance
to advance together, arm in arm,
shoulder to shoulder, their shields raised.

They march in coordinated assault
against the holy hill, but they are rebuffed.
When they saw the unseen,
and when they knew themselves to be seen,
they trembled, collapsing on the spot.
It is a terrible thing to stand in the presence,
a dreadful thing to fall into his hands.
He is a consuming fire.

His breath, creative wind and creating spirit,
the east wind, where pagans look to worship the rising sun,
his breath, the east wind,
is wrecker of ships. His voice convulses the desert,
his voice over the waters.

Trembling seizes them, those who would rage
            and plot together,
trembling like that of a woman in labor.
He who is enthroned upon the mountain
and encircled by the living creatures
laughs and makes a mockery of them.

As we have heard so have we seen
in the holy city of God,
in the city of God of the angel armies,
forever and ever.

Pause

We
we (in our quiet and in our pause)
we reflect on your faithful, ever faithful love.

Your name, O Lord,
Yahweh, your name,
and your praise,
your name and your praise
are sung over the whole world,
out from the peak of holy Zion.
And the nations hear of you.
They hear of your great name.
And they look to the towering mountain;
they look to the mountain of Yahweh,
rising higher than the mountains
and towering above the heights.
They hear your great name
and they say amongst themselves,
Come, let us go up,
let us go to the mountain of the Lord.”
The nations come to her light,
streaming to the mountain of God
to learn of his law.
            The law of love.
The nations of the world
streaming to the mountain of God
to be taught his way.
            The way of love.

And there on the mountain of God’s presence
they will hammer their weapons of war
(swords and spears and rifles and tanks)
into implements of peace and production.
No longer will they learn how to war amongst themselves.
No longer will they study new and improved ways
to hate and to hurt.
Instead they will learn they way of love
from the one whose right hand is filled with saving justice

Yahweh of the Angel Armies puts an end to war,
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear
and says “Be still, be silent.
                        Stop.
            And know that I am God.”
 Pause

We
we (in our quiet and in our pause)
we reflect on your faithful, ever faithful love.

Your name, O Lord,
Yahweh, your name,
and your praise,
your name and your praise
are sung over the whole world,
out from the peak of holy Zion.
What we have come to is not
the hellfire and brimstone of a vengeful angry God
so terrible and cruel; not a blazing fire
or gloom or darkness or storm
or a voice so awful we beg for deafened ears.

What we have come to is Mount Zion
and the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
Beulah Land ,
where the whole Church of the firstborn
sons and daughters of God have assembled
for the festival, the eternal feast
the wedding supper.
Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
The words of God are true.
We have come to God himself.
We have come to God himself.
We have come
            to God himself,
through the blood, the purifying blood
of a new covenant.

We have been given possession
of an unshakable kingdom,
a mighty fortress,
an unmovable, unassailable kingdom.

Admire her walls, admire her towers
examine the alabaster palaces,
and number the gates, each inscribed
with the names of the holy apostles.

Sit beside the river that flows through the center,
the river that flows from out of his throne;
crystal clear with the water of life.
Eat from the tree of life
that grows in the garden of God’s presence;
the resurrection and the life.

Tell future generations that there is such a God
as our God forever and ever.
Tell them that he is our guide through death;
the resurrection and the life.
All who are thirsty – come.
All who are hungry – come.
All who are weary and heavy laden – come.
Come to the mountain.
 Come and see him face to face,
and be seen by him face to face,
without fear.
Come.

Great is the Lord.
Great is the Lord and worthy to be praised.

Come.

(Psalms 2, 46, 48, 99, Exodus 19, Isaiah 2, Hebrews 10 – 12, Revelation 19 – 22)


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