Following the beliefs and backgrounds of three young women in the holy city, National Geographic’s film Jerusalem also delves into the historical and religious significance of the world’s three major religions. Each religion – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – are each represented through the eyes and appreciation of each of these girls. Their stories are similar, even in their ethnic diversity and families’ religious beliefs. Each is narrated individually and interspersed with historical and archaeological facts until the final scene when we see them “coincidentally” walk past one another at a city-center marketplace. Impressive cinematography, respectful religious retellings and tidbits honoring the human in us all are showcased throughout the forty-five minute short film.
My boys and I invited a homeschooling mom and her eleven-year-old son to join us at this IMAX presentation. As I sat chatting before the movie began with the mom, a native Hoosier, she recounted to me her memories of the old cinemax theater in town and the short film they would often show just prior to the main feature on Indiana landmarks and history. She confessed she would get teary-eyed watching familiar scenes of her home state.
“You love your home,” I said simply.
And this was, indeed, a primary theme, a similar thread to be unravelled from the stories of all three women in Jerusalem.
It is not to be detached from hope, history, the future, promises and peoples. The pride that each of these girls articulated in the film, and my Hoosier friend, as well, was evident. It left me, however, with a bit of melancholy or light ache that I, myself, do not possess, nor am I likely to possess, that sense of home, or belonging. The ache exists not only because I do not belong to any one locale, but also because I sometimes feel a need for it. I have long been without a true sense of home. And yet something in me recognizes and appreciates the reverence others cherish as they look on their hometown or culture.
To feel a sense of reverence and belonging to one place is to hope for its perfect fulfillment as it has been promised to us all. One day we will be home, and it will not be in the historical Jerusalem, but in God’s ultimate city, a place where we will all be at peace and feel at home.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing!