“Move Over, Mount Zion”

World Religions
Many world religions have their holy mountains: the Hindus had Mount Meru, the Japanese folk religions had Fujiyama, and the Greeks had Mount Olympus. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, claimed by both Jews and Muslims and revered by Christians, is possibly the most contentious holy mountain in history (http://bit.ly/fZIRJP ).

In April 2011 the newly restored Baha’i Shrine on Mount Carmel in Israel was unveiled. Why mention it in a May 2013 article? Why, because the Shrine was originally due to be finished last month. Thanks to a dedicated team – a better word might be “legion” – of conservators and volunteers, the work was completed two years ahead of schedule.

The news caught my eye not merely because I am a Christian, who along with the Jews appreciates the significance of holy and historical mountains such as Mount Zion and Mount Sinai, but because I am currently preparing a sermon on John 4. In this passage, Jesus and a Samaritan woman briefly debate the Jews’ worship on Mount Zion versus the Samaritans’ worship on Mount Gerizim. Jesus memorably claims that he himself is the new centre of true worship rather than any specific holy mountain.

Local residents and followers of Baha’i call the Baha’i Shrine “The Queen of Carmel.” Architectural speaking, it is regal indeed: gilded tiles and manicured gardens are just the beginning. It may be the finest holy place you’ve never heard of…until now.

Tweet: Move aside, Mount Zion: the Baha’i Shrine on Mount Carmel is on the rise, bigger and better than ever: #worldrels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s