Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Words from a Cave



Today I am going to try to sit still for long enough to write. Since the last
time I wrote, there have been more family crises that I've needed to tend, but I will spare you all the details. It has been stressful enough that I forgot the address for my own blog! I sadly admit that other than emails, this is the first thing I've written since my last post.

Today, I hope to get back on track...

Last week, we were fortunate to attend the opening of the Dead Sea Scroll exhibition at the Saint Paul Science Museum. The Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a shepherd who was looking for a lost goat in a cave near the Dead Sea. The scrolls had been hidden maybe 2000 years ago in pottery jars... The find was extraordinary because the scrolls contain ancient Jewish manuscripts, mostly biblical.

We snaked - more like crawled - our way through the exhibits, then came to the darkened room that held the fragments of scrolls. I could recognize the Hebrew lettering, but as I learned in seminary, there were no spaces between words and no vowels. The letters were tiny and barely visible due to the low light necessary to protect these ancient treasures.

My feet ached by the time we got to this room, and seeing the fragments themselves was almost anticlimactic. But when we exited the dark room, we saw a display of orginal pages from the much more recent St. John's Illuminated Bible. Color and words we could read and understand! (If you're not familiar with the St. John's Illuminated Bible, you can learn more at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/stjohnsbible/stjohns-exhibit.html)

Seeing the St. John's pages inspired and invigorated me! Both the words on the Dead Sea Scrolls and those in the St. John's Bible convey an important message. Both will undoubtedly stand the test of time. But they are both writings. Words set down on paper or parchment.

It all humbled me, a twenty-first century writer, who composes not on paper, but at a keyboard, who wrote a story about a boy who shoved all his bad feelings into an imaginary cave, then found love and redemption in a glorious dream-cave. A nice enough story, but one that will probably not stand the test of time. But while I am humbled, I am also feeling ready to being writing again. We all have stories to tell.

The violets above are from another year... but with any luck, they'll grace our brown garden again soon.

2 comments:

aldrichdesign said...

Welcome back! It's not good to stay away from the "quill and parchment" too long! That must have been quite the exhibit.

C. A. Peterson said...

It was!