Drew and I awoke listening to Gethsemane on repeat knowing that this was the day that we would walk through those sacred olive trees and try to comprehend the sacrifice of our Savior.
Our journey that day began on the temple steps where we literally walked where Jesus had walked. In my mind I tried to picture those money changers right there where we stood distracting from the sacredness of the House of the Lord. We noticed the unevenness of the stones coming up to the temple and were taught that it was constructed purposely to slow people’s steps as they prepared to enter his holy house. I felt slightly chastened as I thought of how often I am rushing to make it into our temple.
All the kids with Roy!
Annabelle, Juliette, Brian and Drew
We just had to take our shoes off so that we could LITERALLY walk where Jesus had walked.
From the temple we headed into the City of David to experience another marvel of human engineering—Hezekiah’s tunnel. Dark, low, tight, long and wet many people opted out of the experience of going through the tunnel. If you focused on those negative thoughts of “claustrophobia”, “complete blackness”, “narrow and tight” I think anyone would be intimidated. Instead I told Drew and Mindi and Bella what a wonderful experience it was going to be- how they would love it. We took in lights and when we were less than a hundred yards in I asked them to sing primary songs with me. Soon everyone in our group was joining in. With the noise reverberating off the rock walls of the tunnel we raised our voices as one in, “Teach Me to Walk in the Light”, “Gethsemane”, “The Miracle”, “Armies Of Helamen”, “Give Said the Little Stream”, “I am a Child of God” and others. Often we turned off our lights to experience the complete darkness, sometimes we bumped our heads, sometimes it was tight, but because our thoughts and hearts were turned to Christ and his light not only were we not scared, but we were joyful and confident. Our thoughts are powerful. A little light can cast away a world of darkness. There is a strength in heavenly music.
We came out of the tunnel into the pool of Siloam and felt compassion for the man that was healed from blindness and then excommunicated for confessing that Jesus had healed him. “….one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Front row-Brynne, Mindi, Bella, Renee, Kristin, Kitty, Brother Nordstrom,
Kneeling-Drew, Lindsey, Gretchen, President Durham
Back row-Brian, Bonnie, David Beckstead, Barry, Michelle, Ken, Matt
With our eyes and hearts open we went next to the Garden Tomb. Within moments of entering I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost. This had been a special place to me as a student. I had come here multiple times to ponder and pray and just…..feel. I was transported back to the first time I had brought Taylor here and how he was so overcome by the spirit he had just sobbed uncontrollably. There is power in this garden. There is a tangible peace that is difficult to feel in the chaos of the city. It felt healing and comforting. As a group we read through the exchange of Mary and Christ at the tomb. Sweet Mindi just cried next to me—The spirit just filling all of us and testifying of the truth of the resurrection. In a word, “Mary” all was changed. She recognized her Lord. Do we recognize him when he calls our name? Death is conquered. Man is free. Christ has won the victory. I could have stayed there all day. All day.
Working backwards we went to Gethsemane. The suffering that took place there made the triumph at the Garden Tomb complete- whole. It was hard for me to feel anything but overwhelming gratitude in Gethsemane. The heaviest suffering of all time took place here and yet the heaviness Of the Antonia Fortress wasn’t there. There was a peace. How grateful I am that Christ completed the mission he was sent here to do. I love him.