22 March 2011
Eternal Easter Experiences
The Easter story never fails to find us standing in awe of God. And new experiences of that story can add so much more to our faith.
Garden Tomb is a charity helping to give Easter pilgrims around the world that fresh experience. Director of the charity, Richard Meryon tells us about the incredible garden just outside Jerusalem believed to be the Resurrection site, and where Garden Tomb provides volunteer guides and services to inspire visiting pilgrims.
Set against the backdrop of the Mount of Olives and near Golgotha where Jesus was crucified, Garden Tomb holds a range of Easter services, including an early morning 'Son-rise' service.
"Imagine the sun rising over the Mount of Olives at about 6am on Easter Day," says Richard. "Thousands queue outside the gate of the Garden Tomb often since 4am for our service."
The charity, which has had official stewardship of the garden in the eastern part of Jerusalem for over 120 years, sees huge numbers of both international and local pilgrims come to the site.
"The Son-rise service is only one of five services over Easter, says Richard. "Others are in French, Scandinavian and Arabic as well as Hebrew."
Many hundreds of Palestinian believers, who only get two passes a year to leave the West Bank and choose to use one of them to visit the garden, hold their own resurrection service, often with fellow believers from the Messianic Jewish community.
For Richard, this, together with being at the site and holding services is one of the many inspiring aspects of the Easter experiences that the garden provides.
"In this service is the hope for real peace, deep peace, eternal peace in the Middle East," he says. "What excitement to worship before that tomb where the Marys might have come and met the angel!"
- For more on Garden Tomb see www.gardentomb.org
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