Even though it has been decades since that trip, each Easter I recall the specific moment when the whole world became my garden. Let me tell you how it happened. One weekend, I spent the day at the Wailing Wall and in the crowded markets of Old Jerusalem. I was hot, tired, hungry and didn’t look forward to going back to sleep at the youth hostel where I was staying because it was filthy and dark. I longed for a place to think, to gather my disappointed desires and try to make sense of why I came here.
I wrapped my arms around me and took a deep cleansing breath. Then, as if I was awakening from a deep sleep, I perceived a divine pattern . . . light and dark . . . winter and spring . . . morning and night . . . birth and death. I understood that even as this day was ending, another would begin at dawn. Even though the leaves were falling, they would form the earth through which new life would emerge next spring. I would die; yet I would live. That is the moment when I realized it wasn’t the site that was important but the event that took place there.
That was the moment when I understood that whether I was in the Garden Tomb in Israel - or in my own back yard – the miracle of Easter was going on everywhere around and inside me every day. The whole earth was indeed holy land - a witness of God’s great love for all of us. Now each spring as we celebrate Easter my thoughts return to the Garden Tomb and the gentle awakening I experienced there. We don’t need to be in the Holy Land to experience the significance of what took place there. The miracles of Easter are manifest all around us every day - and most wonderfully, within ourselves.