Tuesday, 5 November 2013

First thing


Arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at about 4.30 a.m. this morning...


... where the rock outcrop identified as Golgotha, the place of Jesus' execution, was less crowded than during the day...


... and where, at the site of Jesus' empty tomb, the Catholic priests in our group had arranged to celebrate Mass ahead of its being open to queues of individual pilgrims.


Taking a picture in which the celebrant's head appears as he bows at the end of the Mass may seem odd until you realise that one of the Australian priests crowded in next to us in the tiny space was concelebrating with one hand and filming on his phone with the other.  I always like resurrection art which shows the soldiers at the tomb asleep and unaware of what was going on.


This is the inner doorway from which we (the 5.00 a.m. group) were just coming out; the first member of the 5.30 a.m. group is waiting to go in....


... and I particularly liked the angel on the doorway still announcing that the tomb is empty.  The joke is that the sign should therefore read the angel's message 'he is not here'; the serious reflection on this is that, however special coming to Mass at this central point of the Christian world is, the impulse for any pilgrim is not to stay but to go out to where the risen Lord has gone before us  - which is absolutely everywhere else.

2 comments:

Joy Davis said...

Did you feel 'hurried' or was there a stillness about the mass? It is so obviously a busy place even at such an early hour. Have to admit that 5.30am is my normal getting up time and always say my first prayers of the day outside.

Peter Mullins said...

No not hurried, and we'd been in the mostly empty church for half and hour before the Mass started so were quite stilled by the time it started. The Catholics who formed the majority of the group got Deborah and I to read the Epistle and Gospel, so we didn't feel excluded either.