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At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Here or there, miracle or imagaination

sunny

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a complex and complicated set of chapels shrines and holy places. Six Christian denominations try to share the space and the time inside and they are not very good at sharing. The Copts, a Monophysite sect of Ethiopians, lost out on the space issue. The Copts are relegated to a few stone huts on the roof. Here David Grimaldi, Lissie Brooks, Alice Griffin and Barbara Hess sit on one of the benches in the very small and dark Coptic chapel.

F6130196-C47B-4FC9-AEE0-CDBB5C564DF2.jpeg Inside the church two places are prominent: the site of Jesus’s death and the site of his resurrection, and ever since the first Good Friday, pilgrims have been coming to worship here. As Jerusalem’s city walls have moved and the rock around these sites has been quarried, as churches and temples have risen and collapsed, the rock of Golgotha, Calvary, has been marked and hallowed by Jesus’s followers throughout the ages.

And so we made our way from the rock’s base in one chapel to the side of the wall along a stair, to the top of Calvary where today’s pilgrims kneel to touch the place where the cross once stood. It was not beautiful. It was not spiritual. It was gaudy and crowded and covered with silver and gold and icons and tiles. And yet some emerged with tears in their eyes and some were moved in a new and real experience of God’s very self given for them in Jesus.

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Beneath Calvary’s chapel, Ann Hutchinson and Molly Louden knelt at the Stone of Anointing, maybe not the place where women rubbed spices on Jesus before his burial, but a place where pilgrims have believed it to be so and placed their own oils and cloths to be blessed and placed their children to be filled with Jesus’s healing. Over and over we are told why a place is or isn’t authentic and we know that authenticity matters and we also know that authenticity is more than historical or archeological proof. So we continue to listen to our heads and our hearts. Lissie Brooks recalled Rabbi Fuchs sermon at. St. John’s—-I cannot tell you if the parting of the Red Sea Is true because I wasn’t there, but I can tell you that there is truth in that story.

Posted by HopeEakins 06:57 Archived in Israel

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Doug and I are loving your blog and remembering our wonderful day in Jerusalem. Cant wait to see you in January.

by Jane

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