Steps of Stone

Climbing.  Always more ancient stairs.  On our trip to Israel, I started to groan every time we faced a ruined ampitheater or city wall.  Then I wondered who else had tread on them, or other steps before them.  It turned into a poem which was also inspired by a laser light show with an amazing soundtrack, on a crisp night at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem.

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Steps of stone top one another

Inside the wall of the old town

O’er the ages groaning with

The weight of humans bearing down.

David, king, wished a home

For the Ark to be at rest

As a warrior, he could not make it

And bid his son to do his best.

“God’s love endures forever!”

In the temple, lined with gilt

Rightly, prayerfully, dedicated,

For “The Great I Am” was built.

Solomon’s wisdom in the past,

Jerusalem in Judah’s realm

Northern Kingdom, Israel

Numbered ten tribes at the helm.

By Nebuchadnezzar and his army

Battered steps would soon be found

God’s chosen exiled, to Babylon

Stones of the wall fell to the ground.

Persians conquered, a nation freed

It went home to build anew

The second temple rose from rubble

A testament for every Jew.

Then the Greeks of Alexander

Brought their culture in a trample

Maccabees came to the rescue,

Purged and purified the temple.

Herod stretched the Temple Mount

The steps now Roman, stones now theirs

And came God’s Son, Jesus!  Who for the city cried —

Then died, and rose, to make us heirs.

Persian, Muslim empires ruled

God’s people went into decline

More armies, larger and determined

Took the walls in Palestine.

Foreign rulers held the stones

Until Crusaders filed in

Sacrificing limb and life

For God, a holy war to win.

Then four hundred years of sultans,

Ottoman Turks of Istanbul

And steamships bringing travelers

Prosperity, suffering in this rule.

To the British went the spoils

Of a horror — worldwide war

Expansion of an island kingdom

One more sovereign, gaining more.

Home!  Divided, unified

Conflicted first, among the camps

Now agreements, then more fighting

A constant threat of terror rants.

Whose will be the final footsteps

Above the stairway hewn from stone?

God has promised, and we know that

It is Jesus, Christ, alone!

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