Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cracks in the Wall

CRACKS IN THE WALL

Cracks in the wall,
There by design,
Prayers on plain paper
One of them mine
Rabbis are chanting,
Torah held high,
Sunlight is fading,
In the blue sky.
Guards are watching,
Passing the time,
Nodding acquaintance
With the sublime.

Herod’s temple,
All that remains
Limestone platform,
Withstands the strain,
Mosque’s gold dome
Shines in the light,
Whose God is honored
By what’s in sight?
Prayers of the righteous
Meant to be heard,
But the papers are silent,
Don’t speak a word.

“We want messiah”
Yeshiva boy cries,
The irony is thick,
And darkens the skies
Christians with kepas
Stand by the shrine,
Praying to Jesus,
As someone divine.
The wailing wall,
Heard Jesus’ lament
That he would have gathered,
If Zion would repent.

Cracks in the wall,
Filled up with our prayers,
Perhaps it is this,
Which keeps God right there
Perhaps when Messiah
Comes (once again),
Perhaps then the Spirit
Will descend through the air,
Perhaps then true monotheists
Will kneel at God’s feet,
Be filled with his Spirit,
The Father’s Son greet.

True children of Abram
Meet at the wall
And confess Trinity,
The One for us all.
Is this a dream-- we three could be one?
Just as God is,
Whose plan is not done.
“Something there is
That doesn’t like a wall”
But this one unites
The One with us all.


9/11/05
BW3

8 comments:

Stephen said...

That poem expresses a touching image, however I am not sure that I agree with its soteriological implications. The three becoming one metaphor is creative, but doesn't scripture speak of two (Jews and Gentile Christians) becoming one? I am inclined to think that while Muslims claim to be "sons of Abraham" and to some extent revere both the Bible and the prophets (including Christ), they worship a God other than the God who revealed himself in the Bible and in Christ. Sure, its trendy to be like Bono and say "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed, its true, sons of Abraham" (Vertigo Tour), but the sons of Abraham according to Paul seem to be those who believe the promise of God to Israel and in Christ through faith, not merely monotheists of all varieties. (Romans 4) (By the way, I am reading and loving your commentary on Romans.)

Stephen said...

I must admit, however, that I may have misread what you intended to communicate...

Ben Witherington said...

This is a good and fair point Stephen, but I think it is fair to say that God can make a way where there seems to be no way. I was just involved in a conversation with a Christian anthropologist who works with what might be called closet Christians who not only live within Moslem countries but work within the context of Islam, building on the respect there is for Jesus in Islam and taking it further. Of course Moslems are not mentioned in the Bible because Islam did not exist until well after the rise of Christianity. In my own dealing with Moslems, the ones I have known, both devout and not that observant not only revere the God of the OT but believe that that is the God they are worshipping. The word Allah is simply Arabic for El, one of the many OT names for God. I have gone on pilgrimage up Mt. Sinai with Christians and Moslems and they earnestly believed that the God Moses met on that mountain was the God they are worshipping. I quite agree that there is a lot of aberrant theology to be found in Moslem thought, but then there is plenty of that in Christian and Jewish thought as well. I am thus less quick to judge who Moslems are actually worshipping than I used to be. But what I am suggesting is that when Phil. 2.5-11 says one day every knee will bow and confess, even if we take this as hyperbole, it might at least mean that when Jesus returns, devout monotheists will confess his name and worship him. Just some food for thought. The poem comes out of pondering why the wailing wall is the one spot on earth where all three monotheistic religions worshippers can be found near to each other though worshipping separately.

Aaron G said...

Dr. Worthington, I truly enjoyed "Cracks in the Wall" and have put a link up on my own blog. I applaud your "audacity" to say things I presume many of your church colleagues might condemn.

jean said...

Love your poetry.

Matt said...

whatever we want to say about the possible salvation of jews/moslems who do not name the name of Jesus (whehter it be based on scripture or personal experience), i suggest that we must hold the ministry of paul in the foreground of our thinking.

though paul was so profoundly disturbed about the plight of his own people that he could write in romans 9: "For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh" (9:3), it nevers that paul actually did so or would have seriously considered doing so. it's almost saying, to me at least: "i wish that i could wish i were cut off from Christ..." (a reading suggested by n.t. wright).

secondly, paul, despite all his despair over his people, or more correctly, because of it, continually went to Jews and offered them Jesus. in many ways, he was perhaps the 1st "Jew for Jesus." he certainly did not espouse a 2 covenant theology, and to make him do so b/c of our modern/post-modern concerns to be unfair to him and dishonest in our thinking...neither Christian thinking. not that passages like romans 9-11 are not debated; they are. not that there is no idealogical merit in 2 covenant theology; there is, namely that Jewish people be treated with love. but to say that love excludes holding a "Jesus-only" door-to-full-salvation perspcetive is to twist the new testament to our own ends. i think.

matt varnell

Zain-al-abedin said...

first of all--what did u meant by JEW? Somebody following judaism?
At the time of Paul, christianity was just an offshoot or sect of Judaism.They were considered heretics by mainstream Jews. They were not even called"christians".
In that senc=se--yes--Paul was a
Jewish(more appropriately Israelite)Christian. And why don't you think that Paul might me an imposter? Did Jesus forcasted about Paul? Paul was an innovator. He made many innovations and Christianity might well be called Pauline Christianity.
I guess what you meant by 2 becoming one is actually the Israelite and Gentile followers of that sect to become one--not the Jews and Gentile Christians.

Zain-al-abedin said...

first of all--what did u meant by JEW? Somebody following judaism?
At the time of Paul, christianity was just an offshoot or sect of Judaism.They were considered heretics by mainstream Jews. They were not even called"christians".
In that sense--yes--Paul was a
Jewish(more appropriately Israelite)Christian. And why don't you think that Paul might me an imposter? Did Jesus forcasted about Paul? Paul was an innovator. He made many innovations and Christianity might well be called Pauline Christianity.
I guess what you meant by 2 becoming one is actually the Israelite and Gentile followers of that sect to become one--not the Jews and Gentile Christians.