Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 19th

This morning I took the students to the Garden of Gethsemene. We got into the extra area with olive trees, and had a quick reading of scriptures having to do with the atonement, and sang some hymns. I let everyone have some contemplation time and journal writing time. This is what I wrote:
“As I spoke with the students here today and was sometimes looking down at the ground, I could suddenly picture my Savior, Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world, as he lay on his face in agony, experiencing pain so exquisite that it squeezed blood out of his body. This land, which had been created by him, was mixed once again with his essence, as his blood soaked into the dirt here on this mount, as his mortality was overshadowed by his divinity, and he payed a price for me that is greater and more exquisite than I can understand. While I know I can’t comprehend the great price he payed, I know he paid it, for me. I am so sorry he had to suffer so much for me. But the bold, eternal truth is that he did. Jesus Christ suffered that I might be saved. The angel of death, even death and hell, passed by me because of the blood of the lamb. Of this I testify and for this I give eternal thanks.
“Yesterday as we psoke of his trial I saw the great irony of the high priest, who was supposed to represent Jehovah, smiting and mocking and passing judgment on Jehovah. That he who was sinless and had legions of angels at his command, and who knew what lay ahead, went so willingly, as a lamb, to the slaughter, is a marvel to me. My soul is more filled with gratitude for this than I can express, but I know I am not grateful enough. It is true, it is real, he went to the slaughter for me.”
After the Garden of Gethsemane we went into the Church of All Nations, built to commemorate the agony of Jesus at Gethsemane. I helped the students see some of the symbolism in the place, we spent a little time in there, and we even sang. From there we walked to St. Anne’s, where we sang in the Crusader Chapel, spoke of Mary’s birth, and went to the Pool of Bethesda. Then we went to the Church of the Flagellation. Then we walked to the Garden Tomb, where we had a wonderful testimony meeting. It was great to be able to speak of how the Savior conquered death for us, and hear the students bear testimony of it also. It was a great experience.
Then I took our family through St. Anne’s, Ecco Homo, and the Church of the Flagellation. It is so wonderful to do this all with them. This is incredible stuff in an incredible place.

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