The Clash of Ancient and Modern
Egypt is an incredible place, and we're all so grateful to be here. The people are extremely friendly and are delighted when they learn we're Americans. We've also been blessed with an agenda that our leader, Marilyn, put together that has shown and taught us so much. In Cairo we met pastors and saw churches that are euphemistically called "meeting places" – flats where people crowd in and joyfully worship Jesus. Despite their own poverty, they provide social programs like preschool, older adult services clinics and so much more. Sounds pretty biblical to me!
But then she's contrasted our itinerary with visits to the ancient sights like the pyramids that were built 500 years before Abraham was born. Now we're in Luxor, about 500km south of Cairo right on the Nile. Absolutely beautiful. Luxor is the center of pharaonic sights. Yesterday we saw and entered tombs of the pharaohs, walked through a mortuary temple built by a queen for her own death and others, and toured temples that date back to 1500 BC or more. The detail and vibrant paint colors are incredible. And I'm hopeful the paint on the outside of my house will last for 10 years!
As I was sitting with the group last night during our devotions, I couldn't help but think about the contrast of what we've seen – ancient and modern. A civilization that worshipped many gods, and our friends we met who worship the one true God. So, I asked my companions "what's the connection between the two?" They offered some very insightful responses:
- There is a most apparent longing for a higher being. The ancients had many. We have one.
- The ancients realized that their true life was not here on earth, that it was simply part of the journey to their next life. Similarly we too know this world is not our parlance, but instead Jesus died that we might have everlasting life.
- There were temples and tombs we saw where Coptic Christians had done "graffiti" back in the 300's or 400's AD that reminded us other Christians before us made similar pilgrimages as the new Christian religion was taking hold. And they were there worshipping and teaching about Jesus.
We're all grateful for being here and seeing what God has done and is still doing in this ancient and beautiful land. But we would all agree that, like the song says, "Our God is an awesome God."
For the team, blessings,