Students see Easter in new light in Jerusale



    Spending Easter at the Jerusalem Center gives students an opportunity to see the holiday in a new light.

    Julianne Muhlestein, a senior from Sacramento, Calif., majoring in recreation management and youth leadership, said that when she was at the Jerusalem Center she was able to ponder Easter more because it was much less commercialized than it is here.

    However, the main difference was within her, she said. Studying Christ’s life and seeing the places where he had been helped Muhlestein to feel the real meaning of Easter.

    “I was more aware, especially being at the garden tomb,” she said.

    The sunrise service that Muhlestein attended at the garden tomb was sponsored by a nondenominational Christian group. Muhlestein said it was surprising how strong the spirit was.

    “We were all celebrating Christ and showing gratitude for him,” she said.

    Muhlestein’s husband, Kerry Muhlestein, a graduate student from Sandy, studying ancient Near Eastern studies, said the Thursday before Easter was a high point for him.

    He said a group of students went to the Garden of Gethsemane and talked about the atonement and what it meant to each of them.

    “That was probably the best Easter service for me. There was a feeling of gratitude and humility, especially knowing what had happened there,” he said.

    The Jerusalem Center also had a rabbi come on Passover to explain how the Jews celebrated that holiday. Kerry said it helped him realize that just as the Jews lost the point of Passover (by looking forward to the coming of Christ), we could lose the meaning of Easter if we aren’t careful.

    Steve Cook, a BYU graduate from Valencia, Calif., said the Jerusalem Center is a beautiful place to spend Easter. The weather was nice, and there were flowers everywhere.

    While at the Jerusalem Center, Cook also saw how people around the world celebrated Easter. Christian Arabs in Jerusalem had a parade, which has been a tradition for nearly a century, Cook said.

    Cook saw Christians from all over the world come to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. Even though it was really crowded, Cook was glad he was able to see the people come.

    “It was neat to see people from all over the world celebrating Easter,” he said.

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