February 10th, 2018
The Valley of Jezreel
Some time around 1980 the pianist and I were atop of Mount Tabor, which tradition identifies as the Mount of The Transfiguration. We looked down the steep slope to the south at the Valley of Jezreel and beyond to the cotton fields of the Galilee. The valley floor was the road of the Babylonian army to Egypt and the Egyptians to Babylon. It was the road for the Greek and later Roman armies and eventually the Arab and Turkish armies and even later the British and German armies. It is a famous road and in the way of these destructive forces was Israel and the city of Megiddo, sitting dab-smack in the middle of the valley. It was destroyed, rebuilt , sacked and destroyed many times but is now as we observed a deep and testamentary excavation of the horror of war. The name of the city has given rise to the term "Armagiddon", As Jesus and his friends descended the north slope to go to his trial and death after his transfiguration he knew he was facing his own armagiddon. It's hard to stand atop that kind of mountain, look at that kind of valley, think of that sort of city, that man knowing the doom he faced and moving towards it, and not be touched by one's history of death. This week is Ash Wednesday when we receive our ashes.
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