My Saturday was going well.
I was deliberately avoiding religious thoughts and ideas. Trying to have a good time in London. The previous week I had finished a series of religious events and another missions conference (Mission 21) is coming up in a few days. I guess you could say that i am waiting for my other missionary friends to turn up and am just passing some time.
As I was passing this time in London, waiting for the others, trying to lose my religion for a day, I was passing along the various gods and idols of early Athens and was observing the objects of their worship. Very interesting.
The Apostle Paul's experience in Acts 17 came to mind.
I went to the Great Court with a coffee. I bought a journal and started to write.
"I am sitting at the cafe inside the Great Court at the British Museum. Surrounded by space and oatmeal stone polished into silence and fitted together into an ecumenical object.
I am thinking of the Temple courts of Jerusalem. A spacious enclosure, a monument to man's attempt to capture God.
The Temple had a prison for those that could not appreciate its effort or success in the captivation of God. Those who sought to set Him free were themselves imprisoned.
A small cell for the God-releasers.
A large cell for God.
But God did not stay in the court built for Him. He went to the cell to be among his people. Those who sought to set Him free were themselves set free.
And both walked out together."
The rest of the museum was fascinating. I spent a fair amount of time in the Eyptian area, looking at items from the Coptic church.
Crosses, of course. These are from the 6th to 7th Century.
A pottery ostrakon and ink show excerpts from a Coptic church service in "corrupt Greek". Looks more like an object from an emerging church service from this century.
The Coptic Church, it said, had a church service in two parts:
1. Open to all - sermon, prayers and creed
2. Only for those baptised and completed instruction. It involved the eucharist.
Textiles like this Tunic (7-8th Century) often had monks and saints depicted.
A Bible tour wandered past me. I decided to tag along from an unnoticable distance.
The tour guide pointed to an Egyptian bust of Germanicus Ceasar (AD 14-20) Apparently, the nose was "mutilated in late antiquity by Christians who cut a cross in the forehead." A good example of pre-reformation vandalism of Roman art.
I lost interest in the tour. After all, this was my NON-religious day and I was getting a Bible lecture in the British Museum. I snuck off to the Assyrian exhibition.
This is the protective spirit, the Ugallu or "Great Lion". An Assyrian object (700-692 BC) found in Nineveh. This is what Jonah found himself up against when God told him to go to Nineveh with a message. No wonder he was scared.
But now it was time to meet up with some friends for lunch at the Borough Market.