|One of the privileges of living in Europe is exploring many old cities. I find it fascinating to see the old walls that once defined the limits of a city. Even if the walls are gone it is common to see an old city gate still standing. Some gates were real works of art while others were simpler and focused on function. In medieval times, the walls were built for protection and security. But they could also be used to control the population and collect taxes and custom duties. The bigger and thicker the walls, the wealthier and supposedly safer the city was.|
A city with broken walls and gates was considered a tragedy in biblical times. It signified that something terrible had happened. The people were no longer safe and free but now exposed to danger and subject to the enemy. The prophets in the Old Testament looked forward to a time of peace when there would be no need for walls.
With the advent of airplanes and modern technologies, city walls no longer keep people safe. This year we are again witnessing the horrors of war and how cities can so easily be destroyed. It is beyond our comprehension to understand what people in war must be going through. Yet war has been a part of all human history. It is the visible appearance of evil at work. We long for that time of peace that the prophets spoke of.
Isaiah describes it like this:
No longer will violence be heard in your land,
nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
and your gates Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:18-19)
As Christians, our hope for this day rests with the return of Christ. We are closer than ever. Yet while we wait, we need to be caring for those who suffer, crying with those who mourn and weeping for those who have lost everything. Let’s continue to work and pray for peace until ‘no longer will violence be heard in your land.’