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Let The Light Shine Through

For God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through Him, the world might be saved
II Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23; Psalm 137:1-6; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21

Sermon Week Fourth Sunday of Lent Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 3:17

During the mid-1960s, a new translation of the Bible was issued. It was called "The Jerusalem Bible." In truth, every Bible is The Jerusalem Bible, for Jerusalem is what the Bible is all about. The Psalter or Book of Psalms is, as you know, a collection of religious songs — songs of supplication, hymns of thanksgiving and of praise. Among them are the "Songs of Zion." "Zion," of course, is a poetic synonym for Jerusalem. The "Songs of Zion" are hymns of praise to God for His wondrous gifts and benevolence. Psalm 137 recalls the fall of Jerusalem and the deportation of Jews into captivity in Babylonia. In it, the Psalmist, speaking for his distressed people, wonders how it was possible to sing "the Lord's song” — the triumphant "Songs of Zion” — in the midst of that terrible situation. Psalm 137 is especially important in the worship life of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and it should be equally precious to us. We read . . .

“By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.

“On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors demanded songs, and those who tormented us wanted mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

“But how shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?

“If I forget you, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!

“Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!” (Ps. 137: 1-6).

People of the Bible always have and always will turn their thoughts toward that small, embattled city of the Middle East. Each year countless thousands make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem, more than any other place on this small planet, is the intersection of history and eternity.

Yet the intersection is not the destination. The earthly city of Jerusalem points beyond itself; it is not yet fulfilled, as indeed the whole world is not yet fulfilled. We are still in captivity to the "principalities [...]

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