HAPPY Easter! He is risen!

12 April 2009
Let me tell you, sunrise service on Easter morning at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, while singing beautiful, joyous songs of worship and praise with those wonderful friends who you love so much… it doesn’t get any better. This has been the best Easter of my life, and I highly suspect that it my stay as the best Easter of my life for quite some time.
I woke up at 4 am, got in the taxi at 4:30ish, then went and got in line at the Garden Tomb with a bunch of the Jerusalem Crew. There was a group of maybe ten other Christian students studying here in the Jerusalem who were first in line. But other than that, our group was it. The doors opened at 6 am, and we waited in line for well over an hour, but it was totally worth it because we got the best seats in the house!

Chelsea, Stephen, and Jacob. Seats don’t get any better than this. Can you imagine being at the Garden Tomb on Easter morning?! We were there with so many other faithful Christians, celebrating Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. And we were celebrating at the place where Christ came out of the tomb as a resurrected being. Incredible. Spiritual. Definitely one of my top three Jerusalem experiences.
The sunrise service did have preaching and sharing of the Easter story, but it also included a lot of singing. This picture is the musical group that lead it all. They were soooo good and so into what they were singing. Everyone was. I LOVED IT. Hmmm… makes me kind of want to convert to evangelical Christianity. :) Only joking. Being a Latter-day Saint is the only way to go.
I LOVE THIS SONG. Oh my goodness. I had the hugest smile on my face the entire service. Everyone was just rejoicing and celebrating Christ and celebrating the resurrection. We were all united together with the same foundation and with the same belief in Christ.
This is after the service was over, (too bad it had to end). Here’s me and good ol’ Ryan Money, who was shouting “Amens” and “Allelujahs” through the whole thing. What a character, that Money Man.
Before this Easter in Jerusalem, I didn’t really know what Easter was all about. I hadn’t thought about it much, as I hadn’t thought about a lot of things very much. But Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection. I looooooove Easter.

Palm Sunday, Christ enters Jerusalem on a donkey. The triumphal entry. I was privileged to take his path from Bethphage (or maybe Bethany) and into the beautiful city of Jerusalem.
Christ then teaches in Jerusalem and journeys to Bethany at night to stay with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Thursday evening, Christ has the Last Supper with his apostles and institutes the sacrament.
Later on Thursday night, Christ goes from the Upper Room, across the city, through the valley, to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he atones for the sins of the world, where he sweats great drops of blood from every pore, where is bears every pain, physical, mental, and spiritual that we might face. It was that night, that he saved us all.
He is then taken to the houses of Annas and Caiaphas, then to Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate, where he is condemned, scourged, mocked, humiliated. and tortured.
He then takes the path through the city, now the Via Dolorosa, and carries his cross to Golgotha, as he is in such great pain and is completely exhausted.
It is on this Friday that Christ is crucified and remains on the cross for most of Friday.
Joseph of Arimethia begs his body from Pilate, then Nicodemus helps prepare Christ for Joseph’s tomb. Christ is placed in the Garden Tomb. Day 1 is complete.
Saturday/Shabbat/Day 2 passes.
Sunday, Day 3, EASTER morning, the bonds of death have been broken. Christ the Lord is risen!
Happy Easter.

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