Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hope of Jerusalem

Just back from round one in three days of Shakespeare. It was Henry IV, Part 2 tonight at the Cinemark in South Salt Lake that used to be the domes where I went once before in 1975 and saw "Yessongs" in that old pickup we borrowed and had to push to start at every stoplight on State Street - but that's another story. My wife and I are heading to Cedar City tomorrow for our anniversary to see Richard III, and Midsummer Night's Dream. Tonight was a special showing filmed at London's Globe Theater last summer with the same cast and production that did the Henry IV, Part 1, that we saw in person. It was our chance we could not pass up.

So, I was so moved, and surprised again by it, at the scene of the dying Henry IV and his yearning for Jerusalem. He had wanted to be a Crusader, yet he was too occupied in defending his crown "uneasy lies the head" and all. His speech in being lead to the Jerusalem Chamber evokes that strange, mystical yearning the British have for Zion:

Laud be to God! even there my life must end.
It hath been prophesied to me many years,
I should not die but in Jerusalem;
Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land:
But bear me to that chamber; there I'll lie;
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die.

Henry IV, Part 2, Act 4. Scene V.

And it reminds me of the hope others have for that Holy place, in the words at Jewish Passover "Next year in Jerusalem," and in the hope of so many for a Kingdom of Peace. And it reminds me of my own faith and the desire and goal to make a Zion people and welcome the Lord to the Holy City Jerusalem and to the New Jerusalem on this, the American Continent.

That belief in an American New Jerusalem is pretty exceptional. And I still can't get over those powerful thoughts from my British Heritage, pretty exceptional in itself. I want to stand and sing when I hear or even think of the "unofficial" English National Anthem:

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Somerset to the Cornish Hills from Glastonbury Tor, August 23, 2010

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