I am standing under the dome in St. James, the Armenian Orthodox Cathedral in Jerusalem, wondering if the Armenians know that the “Shield of David” covers all who stand here.
Do they know that overhead is the Magen David, the traditionally Jewish symbol that represents the promise so poetically sung in the Psalms? Or is this a practical architectural design, just six arcs supporting a dome? Or is it cleverly both?
Occasionally in a church I see a Star of David in a mural or as a small part of the décor. It is to the right of St. Michael’s Alter in Chicago and on the face of the font at Grace-St. Lukes in Memphis…a small tie to Christianity’s past, honoring the God of Israel, and hence Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham; remembering the promises of God to those He had covenant with, and the continuation into the New Covenant in Jesus, the divinely anointed King through His sacrificial death and resurrection.
Here, this is no small nod or a mere wink to the past. If it is intentionally designed, this most recognized symbol of the Jewish people, this design of unity, this connection to the past from whence Christianity was born hovers over the Armenian Orthodox Cathedral of St. James like a shield representing the covering of God – with the symbol of Israel, the Magen David, the God of Israel.
How much more powerful it is to be here in the Old City of Jerusalem – this land upon which the stage of history is set, this place where the Jews are the Chosen of God, from whom Yeshua was born through Miriam.
Since I have been in this Old City of Jerusalem, this thought has been growing in me, this question of separation. Why is, and why was, the Christian tree separated from her Jewish roots? I never sensed what was missing before, but now I feel the completeness, the fullness of the lineage. The severance from the roots makes the tree of Christianity feel dead, like the wood of the cross.
St. James, a Jew.