Yesterday I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (photo above: Fr. Mark venerates the place where the cross stood on Mount Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). Within this vast complex lies both the rock quarry site of Mount Calvary and the place of Jesus' resurrection. Our wonderful guide, Iyad Qumri, told us about excavations that occurred in the early 1970s. Archaeologists discovered walls dating to the time of the Emperor Hadrian in the second century. Remarkably, an inscription dating to this time still exists. It depicts a ship with a broken mast and the words Domine ivimus, "Lord we went." I am touched by the faith of that Pilgrim venerating the place the church remembered and remembers still, the place where it all began – the empty tomb of Jesus.
"Lord we went," is the story of our lives as well. One day we also will come to a tomb that is our own. Yet it is also the place of resurrection.
I am struck by the faith of all the pilgrims today and through all the centuries who have come here and have touched the place where the cross of Jesus stood, have prayed where his body was anointed, and where he was laid in the tomb. I'm reminded of the people of our community at St. John's, reverencing the icon of the burial shroud of Jesus on Good Friday. As I received a light from candles that have been lit from the new Easter Fire in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I think of our own Easter celebration. As pilgrims to this place we too can say with that ancient traveler, "Lord we came." But so can every Christian whether at the Holy Land or not.
Lord, we travel through our life pilgrimage. Our ship may have had a broken mast, but at the end we will say we got here to our journey's end. And as here we touch Calvary, we also touch an empty tomb, the end and the beginning, death and especially resurrection - Domine ivimus!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!