Friday, March 29, 2013

Relics...

I somehow never finished blogging about our trip to Europe that Jason and I took on his sabbatical... two years ago. But I was thinking today about some of the relics we saw while in Italy. Relics are, according to Webster, "an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr" and we saw ALOT of them in Rome. After seeing some of them, we just walked away and thought, really? You really think that's what that is? How do you know for sure? But if they are what they say they are, its pretty incredible. I thought this weekend was a good time to remember what I saw. Its going to lead me to research them a little bit because I have forgotten in the last two years what these pictures are of.

 
These are the chains that bound Paul in prison.

 
These are the Holy Stairs, or Scala Santa. These are supposedly the stairs from the palace of Pontius Pilate where Jesus was sentenced to death. The mother of Constantine brought these steps to Rome in 326 AD. It is said that if believers climb the stairs on their knees, they will experience part of what Christ experienced in his suffering. Jason and I arrived right after they reopened after lunch, and had to climb the stairs with all these people so it took a really long time. I can still remember that my knees were killing me, but more than that, I was hot and dizzy and claustrophobic. It did literally bring me to my knees to think about how much more Jesus suffered than that because he loved us. I did make it to the top, and felt kind of changed in some way.  We toured the chapel at the top and then came back down and found the stairs like this.
 
 
Empty. But I probably worshipped more climbing it with the loads of people then if I had sped through it by myself. The drops below are said to be drops of Jesus' blood that spilled as he was being beaten on the steps. As you climb the steps and get to one of those spots, it does take your breath away.


 

 
These are relics from the Passion of Christ. It includes the nails that nailed Jesus to the cross, two thorns from his crown of thorns, the sign that hung about his cross, and a piece of the cross. Again, these were said to be brought to Rome by St. Helen, the mother of Constantine.

 
This is a replica of the Shroud of Turin, the cloth supposedly wrapped around Jesus' body. The real thing may be shown on tv this weekend for the first time. Apparently new research has come out that it is from the time of Jesus.
 

 
These are the chains that bound Peter in prison. There are two sets of them found in two different places and supposedly when the two sections came together, they magically joined together.
 

And this holds pieces of the manger that Jesus was laid in as a baby. See the gold baby on top?
 
I think our main thought was that back when Jesus was living, no one knew who he really was. Even his disciples misunderstood who he was. So how would anyone have saved these items if they didn't know the eternal impact he would make? But they are interesting. I didn't list the churches these items are found in. If you ever travel to Rome, the main one I recommend is the stairs. That was the most meaningful to us.
 
I am so glad my Jesus is eternal and I don't have to depend on access to material items to have a relationship with him. But I am also thankful that people are still searching for ways to connect to him, even if its through material things. 

 

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