Garden Tomb


Photo by Neil Remington Abramson

Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows, in relation to a recent visit to Israel and Palestine:

In Protestant tradition, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha and buried in the Garden Tomb, from which He rose from the dead on what became Easter Sunday. The Catholics and Orthodox have this occurring a half kilometre away at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I was personally more moved by the Garden Tomb, but of course I am a Protestant Presbyterian nee Anglican.

Jesus died at Golgotha (now a bus station turn-around) and his dead body was placed in the tomb. A stone was rolled to block the entrance and a Roman guard posted to prevent His disciples from stealing the body and claiming He had been resurrected as He had predicted He would be.

St. Paul, our first extant writer on the subject, says that the extraordinary thing about Jesus was that God chose to resurrect Him and this proved He was the Son of God as He had said. Certainly, by Gospel accounts, the disciples were surprised when the women reported His body was gone. I guess despite Jesus’ prophecy, no one took it seriously until it happened. Why would you? It was a miracle and those don’t happen every day.

It seems to me that this tomb was what various modern science fiction writers call a “wormhole” to the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ dead body was carried into the tomb and was transported to the Kingdom, or the Kingdom to Him. Three days later the stone was rolled away, the Roman guard steamrolled, and Christ revealed the Son of God. And twelve fishermen transformed by the Holy Spirit founded a church that claims 2 billion adherents today, and many more come before us.

And what did I think when I saw this empty tomb and this round stone, 2000 years after the fact?


Photo by Neil Remington Abramson

We Protestants have a tendency to view much of the bible as metaphor. Marcus Borg and others assure us the miracles never happened, because God is limited by reality, or at least by the scientific laws we acknowledge. Apparently there are supposedly limits even for the Almighty God, at least for Borg et al.

Well, I was never a Borg(ian?). For me, to see where God confirmed Jesus as His Son was the most moving moment of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I felt the presence of God as our group performed its Eucharistic worship at a place where the Kingdom of God was so close I could feel it, and still do.

Thanks be to God to show the reality behind the metaphor that both reveals it, and hides it from view behind common sense.

Seeing this place offers confirmation. Confirmation confirms trust. Trust is faith, and in faith there is the impetus to act for God and His Kingdom in an often godless uncaring world.


Photo by Neil Remington Abramson


About brucelarochelle
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