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.
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!