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15 July 2011

Sacred Spaces

What makes a place holy? It's association with a holy person or event? The belief that it is holy? The sanctifying rituals and prayers of believers?
I have found on this third trip to Israel that I'm not particularly attached to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and its anointing stone on which Jesus' body may have been laid after his death

or its Calvary Chapel in which he would have been crucified.

I'm not entirely sure those spaces are in the right places, but on the other hand they can't be but so far off (unlike the multiple tombs - I have even less faith in the so-called Garden Tomb).
But I do have a particular attachment to the Wall. The Western Wall is all that remains of the Israelite temple from the time of Solomon. The remaining stones go back in time through the period of the Maccabees and even further, built on the foundation that Solomon laid. (The stones with the frames around them are from the time of Jesus.)

The holiness of that place is palpable to me. I can feel the residue of God. I don't know how to explain it, but I believe that God resided there in a particular way even as God exists across space and time too vast to be contained in any one place.
As surely as I believe that God became incarnate in Yeshua, Jesus, I believe that God became inhabitant in that temple. And it for me is the holiest place I have ever been.

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