Friday 1 March 2013

On Tel Socoh


On Tel Socoh in the Shefela of Judah, with the lupinus pilosus in bloom...

In Vernet's imagination, Jesus visited Tel Socoh, and perhaps in some February long past, so that he saw the lupinus pilosus in full bloom as we saw them yesterday. I find that infinitely moving: the Creator walking in his garden, amidst the children of men.

And why these flowers only here? (Though perhaps the evidence points to other places in coastal Israel where they might well be found, and certain in other places on the planet, such as Crete and the Mediterranean basin in general, and North America.)

When I saw Adullam, the place of the fortress where David and his gang took refuge, I thought with Naaman the Syrian: Are there not better mountains in my country? And yet the fact is that God chose this land, he loved it above all other lands, like Jesus, it would seem, loved some among his 12 more than others.

This also is part of the risk of incarnation: that God must choose one land, and one people, and one culture, and one race. And somehow, through this particularity and partiality, reach out to us all, to me. "Per me si e' fatto uomo."

And to learn to delight and rejoice without clinging. "Ni coher las flores, ni temer las fieras."

And to my Jewish brothers and sisters: thank you for giving us Jesus, with all his history and geography and psychology.

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