Cristo esta vivo! Faith, hope and the Garden Tomb
Ridley's Principal draws hope in these global times of confusion and pain from words he heard during his study leave from a Spanish pilgrim at the Garden Tomb.
In January, while travel was still possible, my daughter, Hannah and I spent five days at St. George’s Anglican College in Jerusalem. Ordinands from Ridley Hall stay at St George’s each summer and spend time visiting various sites around the Holy Land. I was keen to meet the staff, see the facilities and hear more about what they do.
The college is located a few minutes from the Old City and between it and the Damascus Gate, you can find The Garden Tomb. The garden boarders a possible location of Golgotha and is one of two possible sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. Hannah and I went to the Garden Tomb early in the morning. Not as early as the women who went to anoint Jesus the first Easter, but early enough to beat the crowds. It is quiet, well cared-for place and it’s easy to imagine yourself there at the time of Jesus’ resurrection.
We joined a small queue to go into the tomb. The group ahead of us were Spanish; teenagers, parents, grandparents. Some very emotional at being in this powerful place. All of us had travelled here to, ‘see the tomb’, just as the women did the first Easter morning. We were each here because, when they were instructed by the angel, and Jesus himself, to, ‘go and tell’ they obeyed. We had all heard, and now we were here to see.
Jesus has been raised. Jesus is alive. Jesus is with us now. We trust this at Ridley Hall.
Seeing, hearing, going and telling. These all play a part in the Easter story and in the ministry for which we are preparing Ridley ordinands. Hannah and I waited to enter the tomb. A small number of Spanish pilgrims went in ahead of us. A few moments later they emerged. The last man to come out stood in the entrance of the tomb, raised his arms and shouted joyfully, ‘Cristo esta vivo!’ - Christ is alive! The whole group cheered and offered loud ‘Amens!’ An amazing moment. A tiny glimpse of the great day at the end of the age when people from all nations will gather with the risen Jesus.
Cristo esta vivo! Wow! What a hopeful message. What strength and joy for us in these times of confusion, difficulty and pain! Jesus has been raised. Jesus is alive. Jesus is with us now. We trust this at Ridley Hall. We put our faith into action day by day as we prepare people to lead churches at the heart of communities who desperately need to hear the message of God’s great love demonstrated in His gift of Jesus.