Zion. Zionists. Zionism. What is it all about? Literally these words have referred to hills and castles and temples in Jerusalem. Figuratively they speak of a home for the fugitive, freedom for the slave, or heaven for the people of God. Jerusalem and the land of Israel have been at a coveted crossroads for thousands of years. Literally. People were there before Abraham ever arrived. People were there when Joseph invited his brothers and his father Israel to go to Egypt. People were there when Moses sent spies, and they were still there when Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River. Great civilizations fought for it. Christ lived there, died there, and rose again right there. He ascended from there and will come back there again. It is a special place, filled with a rich history and oh, so many people.
In hymns we sing of Zion. To name just a handful we find Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation, Come, We That Love the Lord, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord, O What Their Joy and Their Glory Must Be, O Zion, Haste, The Voice of God Is Calling, Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying, We're Marching to Zion. Those are just the ones found in The United Methodist Hymnal. And there are more. The Psalmist and the Old Testament prophets spoke of Zion. In Hebrews, the daughter of Zion is the bride of Christ.
With all its blessing and all its glory, though, in our generation Zion (Israel) is a place of conflict. People cry for peace while they wage war. Soldiers die. Civilians die. Children die. We sing of Marching to Zion, but do we want to be in a war zone? No. We sing of marching to the beautiful city of God.
How can we do that in a place filled with so much strife? The Lord inspired the writer of Genesis with just the words we should hear today. The Lord said, "I will bless those who bless you." And we can bless the people in that land. We can do it every day. We can do it with our words. We can do it with our prayers. We can do it with our gifts. What is stopping us?
There are people in Zion! Bless them! With your words, with your prayers, and with your gifts, bless them. Overwhelm them so that they know nothing but blessing. And if they are still filled with strife and conflict and war, let the Lord judge them. Our job is simple, though. Bless them. I know that Jesus did.
Bless God's people. Be Christ like. Be Christian.
God bless you--