I’ve had a tough week, seriously, I’m in desperate need of resurrection Sunday.
When we visited Israel in 2011, we visited the Church of Agony & I know I mention this story every Easter related post but that’s because it really means THAT much to mean and putting that experience into words is way way harder than I ever thought possible.
It was our first day in Jerusalem when we walked from the Mount of Olive down the Passover road to the Garden (Orchard) of Gethsemane. Now, we didn’t have many super long lines for the previous days of our trip but Jerusalem is a whole new experience and we waded in slowly. The line to enter the church was long, weaving through the orchard with olive trees nearly 2,000 years old. The front doors to this particular church looked like the trees that surrounded it, with stained glass as it’s leaves.
Once inside, the front door trees look illuminated from the sun outside. It takes your eyes a while to adjust, the room is dark. Walls and ceilings painted navy with yellow stars, it’s Good Friday inside. The design inside this church takes you back to the moment our Savior was praying in the garden. There is a stone at the front of the church, they are actually holding a small service among the tourists a woman is singing the most beautiful song in Hebrew, I think. I have no idea what she is saying but as I gaze on the walls, and listen I am overcoming with feeling.
Sorrow and Joy.
Hope and Sadness.
I’ve tried to describe this to people but I can’t.
Everyone on the trip had a ‘moment’ of sorts. Mind you this is a group of Seminary students who clearly have a deep knowledge & faith.
This place, that moment was mine in the church of agony.
I stood there listening to this woman sing and before I knew it was crying. I swayed alone in a crowd of people taking pictures and looking at the icons painted on the wall. Then there was a hand on my shoulder. My friend, Chris, came over and wrapped her arms around me and we just dwelled there for a moment. When the woman was done singing, Chris gave my shoulder a squeeze and I gave her a hug. We turned and joined the rest of the group as we headed out of the church. Once outside, Travis told me he tried to get a photo of us together there just recognizing the awe of this place, it’s significance and the beauty of the singing. He told me pictures would never do it justice.
Today is Good Friday.
Today, He cried out from the cross, “it is finished!”
My husband has the honor of preaching on Sunday. It’s not his first Easter Sunday to preach but as the most significant Sunday on the church calendar is does come with some level of burden to bear. To bring hope from death, to be hopeful in a time of sorrow is no easy feat. I’m thankful for his ability to share and remind us that we have no fear in death for Christ overcome.