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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When the Bible Comes Alive - Part 1

I walked the path Christ walked as He carried His cross through the streets of Jerusalem. At first, it seemed like just any other pleasant walk through those ancient streets that Petunia loves to visit. However, when the guide explained that here Jesus fell... there Jesus placed his palm... here Jesus fell down again... and right here, Simon from Cyrene was forced to help Jesus carry His cross... it didn't seem a pleasant walk anymore. I seemed to see the rabble around... and a man falling onto his knees, heavy cross upon his lacerated back, dripping blood.

As we made our way into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a large and heavy church all dark inside, the guide pointed out another heavy stone structure built ON TOP OF the place where Jesus' body was laid to rest wrapped in a white burial cloth. It was very confusing... and I was irritated that mankind had seen fit to erect such an ugly structure over such a holy place. It would have been more beautiful had it stayed the cave it once was... with uncut boulders... a simple slab, and an opening that let in light and air. It would have been a glorious place had mankind not decided to worship God with dressed stones... and huge churches with no sunlight inside. After all, in Exodus 20:25, God did say "25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it."

I am sure that the people who built the church wished to glorify God. I am just not sure that it is the best way to do it. But maybe, that is just me.

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I was given the privilege to enter into a narrow room wherein there was a stone slab. This was where Jesus' body was laid to rest. I could not help it. It was so dark and so sad... and I saw His body lay there pale and washed. Tears welled up and I was quite overcome with grief. It was happening right before my eyes. Things went downhill from there. The guide ushered us to the Golgotha and from there, we went upwards within the church to see the place where Jesus was nailed to the cross.

Again, it was happening on the slab right before my eyes... the nailing. And when the figure of Jesus crucified upon the cross reared itself before my eyes, I had a COMPLETE meltdown. It was all VERY undignified! Me sniffling amongst all those people... who didn't at all seem bothered by all that blood and gore I could see on the floor and walls. It was also very embarrassing. It took some effort to keep myself from opening my mouth wide to wail.

And I do mean WAIL. Instead, one tried one's best to blow one's nose genteely onto The Husband's sleeve ... discreetly so no one else could see.

I was glad to go out into the sunshine again and those who were with me were sweet and kind. They asked if I would like to spend more time in the Holy Place that had moved me to tears. I declined. No way was I gonna stay over long in that place that meant so much pain and blood for me.

This said, I am grateful to my hosts for bringing me there. It is not a sight I would have missed for the world. Walking the Way of the Cross helped me feel Jesus' humanity and be grateful for His divinity. It was a deeply spiritual experience.

Jesus' tomb slab is inside the huge black structure here.

Jesus was crucified here where his golden figure stands.

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