Sing: In the Garden
The Garden Tomb (also known as Gordon’s Calvary) is thought by some to be the site of the tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, and therefore the site of the resurrection of Jesus. The Garden Tomb is at least a more viscerally pleasing alternative to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Garden is a beautiful place in which you can discover several things that were all present the day Jesus died and which match the accounts in the four Gospels. The Garden Tomb is a quiet place preserved for worship and reflection, with many places to sit and enjoy the surroundings and listen to groups from all over the world worship in their native tongue.
At the back of the Garden Tomb property there is a rock face, the remains of an ancient rock quarry, with several large and small formations shaped like a skull. Jesus was crucified at the “Place of a Skull,” Golgotha in Hebrew, and Calvary in Latin. It was also written that the place was where people were passing by, suggesting that it was near a major road, which was a way the Romans liked to advertise their form of justice. Today, the rock face at the Garden Tomb stands above a transportation center for a Jerusalem bus company.
The rock-cut tomb is near the street, but we had entered in such a way that we did not see the tomb until our guide led us there. It is a lovely, garden setting and it is easy to imagine the stories of Good Friday and Easter morning happening in this place. We quietly took turns entering the tomb to see the place where he was laid. But the tomb is empty – he is not here!
We gathered at a site overlooking the entire garden. We sang and prayed together. We heard the Scriptures read. We shared together in Holy Communion. We have shared more than a trip with each other – we have been united in pilgrimage! We are saying goodbye to some good, new friends tonight. Bon voyage!