Below Jerusalem today we spent some time among some olive trees essentially in the
area where Jesus prayed before his betrayal and arrest. He pleaded with his disciples to “keep awake” but of course they could not. I was thinking about what it means to stay awake–awake to God, awake to neighbor, awake to my longings and need for Jesus. What struck me as I sat by the olive trees (I heard estimates that some of them were 1000-1500 years old) wasn’t so much what I was seeing but hearing. There were birds singing. Peaceful.
I’m sure they were the background for Jesus too. Yet, nearby the sounds of the street and honking horns invaded the space–these of course were not there to bother Jesus. Yet, I imagine the noise of the world was on his mind. I am confident at this point Jesus could see what was ahead for him.
The noise of sin and death would crucify him. But another sound came. Our group was sharing the a private courtyard space with some Spanish speaking Catholics. Our group was spread out below among the olive trees praying and reading and this Catholic group was above and they began to sing together. Their song was beautiful and was more powerful than the honking horns and noisy engines. They sang about Jesus and there were Easter Alleluias. Jesus’ song is the most beautiful and powerful song. Thanks be to God for what he did after he was taken from these olive trees & garden and may we keep singing his song amid the noise of the world. Finally, perhaps the most impacting part of this day was seeing all the Christian pilgrims from all over the world coming to connect with Christ. We are part of an amazing church.