A few weeks ago the word Zion came into my head. Had always kind of understood the Jewish idea of Zionism, but it seemed that God was trying to tap me into the kingdom reality of Zion… Not just a metaphor or an idea, but the place on earth and in the spirit that exists right now. Sitting in the bathtub, I see the millenia of hopes that have revolved around running back to Zion. Bob Marley and his anti-colonialism, the Russian poets of the Communist era, the Jews of course–all groups writing about being exiles wandering back to a home space. I kept seeing harps hanging on the poplars, the exile lament song of Psalm 137–the lament and longing. And then I was seeing the oil dripping from the heads of the men who sung, “When we came back from Zion we were like men who dreamed; our mouths were full of laughter…” The two emotions of being turned away from the garden, and the longing to return have saturated us for centuries. But Zion is not just an idea, the Lord says–“a place where I have invested my home and am still sowing words into her for those to come.”
He showed me that Zion has two claims on the human heart. One is individual–we go on a journey to our authentic selves, our true selves centered in the cross of Jesus Christ. We journey away from the the exile of the false self into our authentic spirituality. Zion is crying into the earth for us to move away from the Babylon of false self. The second part is a collective journey that is going on in the earth right now… not just a single ethnic or national or racial group longing for their natural land back, nut an actual collective journey of all creation back into the place where the harps are played in the kingdom in which they were made to play. Zion is Unity in the church, the bride of Christ. Zion is a place where every tribe, tongue and nation is no longer exiled but are at home as one. We are not just getting pirates off our land but on earth souls are traveling toward a single home together. The exile-and-return chorus of the Zion song started at the garden of Eden, where we left the place of true home and tried to taste of our own understanding–our own knowledge. In Zion the notes of only spiritual wisdom and understanding exist. All the fruits of the spirit live there–and all that stands against them does not.
Zion is the REAL place where Jesus is encountered internally and collectively–more real than any homeland on earth. It is at its heart both a yearning for the holy city of Jerusalem and the king who dwells there. The Lord is still sowing into Zion words that will be sung when the harps are returned.