Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday ~ 2014

Looking down from the Rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be built on the site where Jesus was crucified ~ on Golgotha, is one of the most sacred, and most disputed over, sites in Jerusalem. [There was a church built on the site before 66 CE; leveled by Hadrian about 135 CE; rediscovered by Helena, mother of Constantine about 326 CE.] During Holy Week, hundreds of Christians come to see the church and to participate in worship services within, around and on it. [Six denominations ~ Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Ethiopians and Copts ~ own different parts of the church. None own the main entrance. The key resides in the care of the Joudeh family and the opening/locking of the entrance are in the care of the Nusseibeh family, both of whom are Muslim.]

I've been inside this Church twice though neither time during Holy Week. Within its walls, I felt the weight of the centuries of spats between the different sects. I also felt an incredible peace and sacredness within and all around the Church. I cannot imagine the beauty and the overwhelming press of worshipers at the vigil on Holy Saturday.

Why do I find myself looking back at that particular Church tonight? Because it marks for Christendom the place where the Messiah died. Holy Saturday marks the in-between time, the time when Jesus was neither in this world nor in heaven. It marks the time when the myth of Jesus, a myth that would significantly alter the course of the world for hundreds of years, was born. The myth wasn't born with Jesus' birth, but with His death. Tonight, this night of all other nights of the year, reminds me most deeply and dearly of where and under what circumstances Christianity was born.

What influence has Holy Saturday had on your life? What influence has Christianity had on your life? What myth of Christianity is most significant to you?

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