Saturday, December 04, 2010

Pause for Thought
BBC Radio 2
Saturday, December 4th, 2010

When a trench was dug through the ancient hill fort at Megiddo in Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century it revealed 26 individual layers of settlement separated by what were called “destruction layers”. New cities were built on old ruins. From the top you can look out over the Jezreel Valley and imagine the armies massing out there. You can imagine the fear which must have gripped the defenders - at least 26 times.

I could go through a family photo album with somebody of my father’s generation and he would point to pictures which represented moments in his family history when it appeared that the end was nigh. Hopes and plans had been dashed. Efforts had come to naught. He might have felt, at various moments, as if he lived in the shadow of impending doom. When you’re in the midst of it, it feels like the end of the world. You can’t visualize what life afterwards will look like.

If you walk down through the steep tunnel into the heart of the hill fort at Tel Megiddo you see a remarkable thing. You walk by a spring of water, captured and enclosed thousands of years ago by the hill fort – a free flowing spring - the original reason why Neolithic people first chose this little hill to live on.

More often than not you’ll see a small frog perched there by the edge of the water. In such dry and inhospitable surroundings baked by the sun and blown by the wind it’s the last thing you’d expect. But they’ve been there all along.

There’ll be a healthy dose of “end of the world language” in the Scripture readings in Church throughout the Advent season. It helps, though, to flip ahead a few pages and remind yourself that there are both books and history which follow. The germ of something good survives and resurfaces later. Life, with its testament to God’s abiding presence through history, hope and promise survives and endures.

Solomon and Ahab, have come and gone. So have Pharoah Thutmose III and the Canaanite Confederacy, the Ottoman Turks and General Allenby.

The frogs have seen them all off

An audio link is available for a limited time HERE. PFT begins at 0:21.41 - a little ways along the audio bar.

1 comment:

jim said...

Good one