Photo: The Garden Tomb (Travelujah)
On April 14, the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem will host its annual Arabic-language Easter worship service with simultaneous translation into Hebrew. Richard Meryon, director of the Garden Tomb, told Travelujah that the Arabic-Hebrew event has become "the most spiritually significant service here -- can there be a more important signal to the World than that Palestinian and Israelis believers meet and worship together?"
Meryon said the service attracts 500 to 600 Israeli and Palestinian believers, and that number is growing as more and more local Christians become aware of the safe haven and the platform for reconciliation that the Garden Tomb provides.
"The Garden Tomb is endeavoring to be a neutral venue for both Israelis and Palestinians to feel safe to worship together -- Easter is not the only such event here each year but of course the pinnacle," Meryon told Travelujah.
One would think that with the current political tensions, any gathering of Palestinians and Israelis -- even under the Easter banner -- would be a powder keg, but Meryon said there has yet to be a problem and the Israeli and Palestinian believers mingle as brothers.
Meryon was at pains to stress the potential for positive impact on the entire Holy Land represented by this particular service, which, after all, is a celebration of the Prince of Peace and his victory over death.
"Most of our more than 260,000 visitors each year are tourists from 60-plus countries, but these joined-up events for local believers are perhaps the most important thing the Garden Tomb can do -- providing a bridge for the two believing communities and such a strong signal for the world to bring the best possible hope for peace in the land of the Holy One," Meryon explained.
The Garden Tomb hosts a series of worship events and resurrection services starting on Good Friday (April 6) and culminating with the Arabic-Hebrew service on Easter Saturday (April 14). Other services will be conducted in English, French and Scandinavian languages.
For further information on the Garden Tomb please visit their website at www.gardentomb.com.
If you go:
The Garden Tomb is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. through 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. Sundays the site is closed.
Group visits are by reservation only and must be arranged in advance.
There is no entrance fee to the site, however, a donation of $5 per person is suggested.
Ryan Jones writes for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.
Publication date: April 12, 2012