REV Dr Collin Gordon can never forget how he felt approaching the darkened rock-carved burial chamber in Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was believed to have been entombed.
As he stepped into the sacred place for the first time, he was overwhelmed with emotion and cried.
Dr Gordon sought to bring the experience he felt when visiting the tomb in Golgotha, now known as Skull Hill, to fellow Christians by replicating it at the Trinity Community Centre (TCC) in Petaling Jaya to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
“I was very sceptical before I became a Christian but when I went to the Holy Land, all that I had read in the Bible, I found in real life.
“The minute I entered the tomb, I could feel the power of resurrection come over me.
“Once I came back to Malaysia, I knew I wanted to share this feeling with Malaysian brothers and sisters,” he said, adding many local Christians did not have the means to go on pilgrimage.
Dr Gordon visited the site three times and each time he would take detailed photographs of the tomb so that he could help rebuild an almost exact, life-size replica using polystyrene instead of rock.
To complete the experience, he ensures that the stairs leading to the tomb are shrouded in black and paved in faux rocks symbolising Jesus’ walk to Calvary while seven screens depict the Stations of the Cross.
“A lot of people told me they have a deeper conviction of what Jesus went through after visiting our 'tomb',” said Dr Gordon, adding it took three weeks to construct.
At the top of the recreated tomb, the air is filled with the scent of myrrh and aloe, and a folded shroud and face cloth have been placed at the foot and head of where Jesus was said to have been laid to rest.
A round stone slab bolted the tomb shut throughout Good Friday but on Sunday, the slab was rolled aside, representing Jesus’ resurrection.
Church-goer Irene Chin, 67, who has been attending mass at TCC for the past two years, felt uplifted.
“Whatever loss of faith we experience, our belief will rise up.
“I felt like a load has been taken off me,” she said after walking through the tomb.
Dr Gordon said the replica tomb would be open from 9am to 5pm, from Tuesday to Sunday for the next two months. Admission is free.