Miracle: Eleven by Five Inches
It was under the casement glass, eleven by five inches, effectively sewn back together, in one of history's greatest jigsaw puzzle achievements. Psalm 102:
10Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
12But thou, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
13Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
14For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
15So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
16When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
18This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
19For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
20To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
21To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
22When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
24I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
25Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
26They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
I wish that the next verse had been included: "But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end."
Hilary, Lauren and I visited the Royal Ontario Museum yesterday in Toronto and examined the special Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit. (continuing until January 3, 2010)
SEE IT, WILL YOU!
A special room winds in circles with presentations on Bible-time Jerusalem, the situation surrounding the Second Jewish War with Rome, the community of the Essenes, Qumrum on the west shore of the Dead Sea (the lowest altitude on the entire planet), the mysterious caves with the scrolls, some intact, some shattered by the climate and time, or perhaps abuse.
I felt a thrill seeing tangible proof of the fixed and written will of God, carefully preserved, carefully copied, carefully unscrambled by international archeology and Biblical scholarship. It was all going on around the time of us "baby-boomers". Discovery in 1947 of a cave and the first four scrolls by a nomadic goat-herding family. The Bethlehem "antiques dealer". The breathlessly excited French digging crews. The sombre realization by the government of the new Israel that it held a priceless archive of the roots of three faiths.
What was Qumrum? A ceramics centre of commerce? A place of refuge for priceless records saved from the Roman siege of Jerusalem (@A.D.70) by Vespasian and Titus? A community of scribes brought to a lonely contemplative place for study, copying and preservation of these records?
A beautiful video presentation provided a viewing of the immense Temple under Herod, the one Jesus visited. I felt almost a tangible link with heroes of the Bible involved with the texts on display - Moses, David, Daniel, Isaiah. There were also some apocalyptic messages of end-time judgment, mercy and vindication worthy of our God. Churched and un-churched in the hall felt not only the history but the Holy Presence.
Hilary and I also found it interesting to note that in some aerial pictures of Qumrum the one end of the rise in the land had the appearance of a great hand or lion's paw, grasping with its digits to take hold of the earth! May the precious and merciful Word of God do the same. Amen.