Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dead Sea Scrolls - Words that Changed the World

Tuesday of this week we took our kids on a field trip for school. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has a temporary exhibit of of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between the years 1947 and 1956, about thirteen miles east of Jerusalem. It was amazing to learn more about the scrolls and to spend the day with our kids talking about their importance. One of the things that I learned was about 15,000 fragments of over 500 scrolls were found in one cave alone. It took over a decade for many of the scrolls to be put back together. Can you imagine a jigsaw puzzle that big?? Honestly, if you could have seen some of those little pieces. I find it amazing that they have actually pieced together between 825 and 875 separate scrolls. One of the Isaiah scrolls was found relatively intact and is 1000 years older than any previously known copy.

We chose this week to attend the exhibit because for this week only they are also showing a scroll from Deuteronomy that contains the ten commandments. I will never forget all our kids and our friends Mike and Patty crowded around the display, looking intently into the glass because the lighting is so dim to protect the scroll itself. The writing is also so tiny that we even resorted to using Daniel's glasses to magnify the Hebrew lettering. I am sure we were quite a sight!

What I enjoyed most about the scrolls was being able to talk about them with our kids. What fun to be reading scripture with them in a busy museum, to be able to read and talk about what historians think and to feel that connection with many of the words that we read in our own personal bibles at home.

What surprised me more than the actual scrolls themselves were the hundreds of artifacts that we got to see. I spent most of my time with Trinity as she wanted me to
read her the captions and scriptures in front of every item. "Keep reading, Keep reading" she would say. Her most exciting finds were sandals and a comb that had been discovered. My most exciting find was a large piece of the gateway from the temple in Jerusalem. As I read the words "most likely that Jesus walked under this gateway to enter the temple." I was in awe. I still get excited just thinking about it.

The Museum has promoted the Dead Sea Scrolls as "Words that Changed the World". They play up on the fact that words can be profound and words can be powerful. They have had lectures and intellectual debates, controversial protests and over 160,000 people have walked by the dimly lit glass cases. But what I will remember from my trip to the ROM is my four year old's excited voice, "Keep reading mommy, Keep reading. Who said that in the bible? Moses or Jesus?" "Mama sing me that song, I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains where does my help come from?" To me this a reminder that these Jesus is still changing hearts.

1 comment: