We Find That The Tomb Is Still Empty

Holy Lands Tour Day 4 Shalom Shabbat – Gethsemane

Written in the early morning –
Today is the Sabbath. We will partake of the sacrament at the BYU Jerusalem Center, and we will visit the Garden of Gethsemane.

Thinking about this opportunity is already making me emotional. How is it that I am so privileged as to have this opportunity to be able to partake of the symbols of Jesus’s sacrifice for all of humankind and then to visit the place where his great intercessory prayer was offered?

Later in the morning –

Our visit to the Pater Noster Church was really neat – seeing the Lord’s prayer in all the different languages of the world. I’m really grateful for the unifying power of this prayer. No matter what version of Christianity you ascribe to, that prayer is held in common.

We sang this hymn during church today, but we almost never sing the last two verses and they are some of my favorites.

How Great the Wisdom and the Love “In memory of the broken flesh,

We eat the broken bread,

And witness with the cup, afresh,

Our faith in Christ, our head.

“How great, how glorious, how complete

Redemption’s grand design,

Where justice, love, and mercy meet

In harmony divine!”

Gethsemane was crowded, but it is so neat to go to these places and realize how sincere the desire is that so many people have to connect with God in ways that are meaningful for them.

The Church of the Nations next to the garden was a remarkable place, which I might not have appreciated as much without the aid of my phone’s camera being able to see in the dark.

One of the highlights of my day was visiting the location of the Garden Tomb. I loved the quiet spirit here and the chance we had as a group to sing some hymns together. I’ve missed music, especially worship songs since leaving home, and I needed this. I’m looking forward to coming back again near the end of our tour.

We also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I chose not to wait in the extremely long line to enter the little sanctuary that covered the tomb. It all felt like just too much, so I wandered of to see if I could find the sanctuary for Mary, mother of Jesus.

One of my daughters told me about this particular spot in the church and a beautiful experience she had there, so I wanted to be sure to see it. I couldn’t find it right off, so Mr. Hot Stuff and I went back there after a quick shopping excursion with the group. We found it more easily on our second visit. The crowds had thinned and there was a lot less flash and bang in that part of the church, but to me it’s part of what makes that area so peaceful and special.

By the way, our Muslim bus driver, Alam, is amazing at what he does. I’m in awe of the how he gets through the toughest tight places.

And now I am drop-dead tired. God bless.

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