Monday, September 29, 2008

Heaven's Gates are... Where?

In today's there an article on the conversion of two great religious holy days in Jerusalem: the Jewish month of Elul which leads to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the Muslim month of Ramadan. For both Muslims and Jews these are holy times in a most holy place, Jerusalem. Having been to Jerusalem last winter I wish I could spend another month there now.

Is Jerusalem especially holy? "Holy" means "set apart for God." A "holy" month would be a month where God especially reveals himself; a "holy" city would be a city where God especially dwells. As 17-year-old Avi Kenig says as she looks up at a clear night sky, “It feels here as if the heavens are open to our prayer. We have been taught that here we are at the center of the world. These are the gates to heaven.”

What's a Christian like me supposed to think of this? My answer is that, in Jesus, the opening of heaven's gates is no longer geographical or temporal. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, a time is coming when there will no longer be worship on your holy mountain (Mount Gerizim) or in Jerusalem (on Mount Zion - the "temple mount"). When we pray "God let your kingdom come, let your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we're not asking God to send something special on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. We are asking God to rule and reign, here and now.

With Jesus the "center of the world" shifted. Geographical and temporal boundaries no longer matter. That's why we're experiencing the opening of heaven's gates here in Monroe, Michigan.