Yesterday we spoke about the celebration of Easter here in Jerusalem!
Chuck asked about the site of commemoration of Jesus' death and resurrection.
Traditionally that location has been found in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
There is a second location – The Garden Tomb, where many people are happy to exclaim 'it happened here'.
There are many reasons for both sites claim to validity.
The Holy Sepulcher has, since the fourth century, been the physical landmark of the greatest event in history.
There are two writings that ever so briefly appear to describe the area believed to be where the church stands today in the third and second centuries by early Christian pilgrims.
The church structure itself has gone through many physical changes over it's 1,700 year history.
The one physical (and obvious) hurdle for most is the idea that it sits today well within the Old City walls.
However it is clear that it was outside the city 2,000 years ago with a city wall running to the south of the complex.
When one visits The Garden Tomb they can observe all 18 of the New Testament's criteria for the place of the Death and Resurrection – including being outside the City walls (of today).
This is part of what makes the experience so amazing – to walk in a garden under the blue canopy of the sky above – and to come across the rock hewn tomb possibly from the time of Christ… the environment lends itself to belief for many.
It's significance as a site started taking shape in the late 1800's.
Back within the domed Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the ethos speaks of miracles and martyrdom, of faith and fact. Much can be missed because there is so much there!
But with man's presence there for so many centuries, and the fact that the Church today has two main approaches to the philosophy of worship means that one can potentially leave from either location without the same enthusiasm of Mary Magdalene.
I love this part of the Easter narrative – what an honor to be the first to see Him alive and to hear His instruction – the Resurrected Christ!
Whether one prefers the strength of tradition – or a great visual aid – there is no debating that Good News did happen outside Jerusalem and our responsibility is to do as Mary was told – Go and Tell!
Happy Easter Everyone!
Middle East Correspondent