“The most powerful spiritual experience of my entire pilgrimage came inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On my second visit I decide to wait in the long snaking line to enter the Tomb of Christ, housed in the Aedicule, the church within the church. Almost impossibly ornate, the entrance to the tomb is flanked by tall candles, with a small wooden door set into a façade of rose marble. The people in line were orderly, but fidgety. The man in front of me kept checking his smartphone. Probably ignoring some code of pilgrim’s etiquette, I peeked over his shoulder to see what could be so important and half-expected him to be typing, “Can’t talk. In church where Jesus died. Call you in 5.” Instead he was playing a video game. … The appointed time came. You must crouch to enter. Bending slightly, I walked in with a man and woman. Before me was a pinkish gray stone, about waist high. On ledges around the stone, which also served as an altar, dozens of tapers burned brightly. … I knelt on the floor and bent my forehead to the cool stone, touching it with my hands as well. The moment I did this, I had an instant, powerful, vivid image of Jesus lying on the stone and then sitting up. I could see him, feel him, rising up. The image filled my mind. Emotions overwhelmed me, and I started to cry. Stumbling out of the tomb, I stopped by the columns outside and knelt down. Why had I not understood that this was not simply the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church of his tomb? It was also the Church of the Resurrection. … He rose from here, I thought. I thought of how he did it for everyone—past, present, and future. I thought of all the pilgrims who had come to this spot—past, present, and future. And how it changed everything.”
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Powerful Easter Story: Good News from Christianity
The following powerful experience comes from author James Martin and is found in his book Jesus: A Pilgrimage, which I highly recommend.