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Spiritual Life: Why we share holy festival dates

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 March 2018

Archant

Good Friday – the day upon which Christians commemorate the trial and execution of Jesus and his terrible death on the cross – followed on Sunday by Easter, when they rejoice at his resurrection.

The very same Friday night, Jewish families will be seated around their dining tables, sharing a delicious Passover meal, replete with four glasses of wine and many symbolic foods, reciting the age-old prayers and psalms, singing songs to much-loved melodies.

It’s no coincidence that Jews and Christians celebrate their Passover and Easter over the same weekend, because the events of Easter took place just before the Passover festival, 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. Jesus and the Twelve were only in the capital, Jerusalem, as pilgrims. They rented a room for their Passover meal, but sadly it was not to be, for Jesus went that day to his violent and early death, himself embodying the Paschal sacrifice.

Today you can visit and pray in the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Immediately underneath the Upper Room is another holy place, the tomb of King David, venerated by Muslims and Jews as well as by Christians. Why is the Room of the Last Supper located directly above David’s tomb? Because Christians regard their Messiah as the direct descendent of King David.

Christians and Jews share the dates of their holy festivals; all three Abrahamic faiths share holy places, cities and land. If you’d like to join me on a Three Faiths visit to Jerusalem and the Holy Land this autumn, please email your name to david.hulbert@whsmithnet.co.uk


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