Sunday, August 9, 2009
The Scientist Dad continues his overseas research with a stint on the Chilean coast. The Philosopher Mom has been reduced to a few, moribund attempts to prepare for the start of school next week. Fortunately, I'm teaching ancient history this year, which allows me to both (a) get something practical done and (b) ponder the long and darkling plain of human existence without Christ. With all the uncertainties and drama of the nightly news (which I gave up watching with Todd's absence), it does the heart good to remember how very, very tiny we are in the vast (but brief) course of history.
For example, I was just studying some of the independent sources available to us on Egypt at the approximate time of Joseph's apex. You know what? This was the mightiest civilization on earth and so few of its records remain that we can't determine much at all about them. In fact, most of the sources qualify every sentence with "it appears that" or "this may be" or "speculation confirms."
Yesterday, I had to look up Jericho. This was the first known "city," a center of commerce and worship. And 8,000 years later ... gone. Just a pile of rocks under sand. See picture above.
Goodness! This is getting dark.
But the reality is: Human existence is dark, unless illuminated by something greater. By the light.
So, I must leave you with that master of levity in the dark, GK Chesterton. Here are a few stanzas from his Ballad of the White Horse, "The Vision of the King":
But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.
"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"