I read Zechariah 3 over and over. I am not 100% sure about the wisdom of taking a Biblical passage that I don’t completely understand and relating to a current political situation that I don’t completely understand either with the hope of understanding both better? Sometimes I just think I’m nuts (and other times I just hope that my Hebrew Scriptures professor from college does not stumble upon my blog!). But my thinking was: I can’t even begin to relate to the experience of being in exile and needing to rebuild, but the Syrians probably can.
As a Christian, I can’t read Zechariah 3 without thinking of Jesus, the branch of David and servant of God, who removed all our iniquity in a single day. I thought of this verse from Hebrews where St. Paul writes: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” And also another passage from Philippians:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Crist is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Most of all this passage makes me think of Jesus, at once our servant and king, human and divine, our high priest, our savior. .
What found its way into my margins after reading this passage is a simple prayer for two bishops, who have been brought to a terrible time of trial. They have been kidnapped and have been missing for two years. My hope is that they will be returned to their vestments and able to help with the rebuilding efforts. I pray for their safety and release. I thought I would share some words from Archbishop Ibrahim that speak to his hope-filled vision of a “Dialogue of Life”:
Whenever Christians and Muslims approach the sources of divine teaching, they may feel that their common heritage is part and parcel of the universal belief of the relationship between man (the weak) and the Creator (the mighty). Christians say we have one God and Muslim say there is no God but God. From this understanding of our common heritages derived the concept of the “Dialogue of Life” – to which we owe our peaceful coexistence and the flourishing of our communities. However, even given the rich ethno-religious diversity of our communal tapestry, it is not at all like the concept of multiculturalism that is emerging in Western society. The “Dialogue of life” is a rather simple, spontaneous, and natural way of life – a sort of coexistence sustained by the values of solidarity, humanity, impartiality and accepting the other unconditionally.