I like to meander through museums and old general stores.  Summers, my two sisters and I, stayed days at grandmother’s on US Highway 70, eight miles outside the town where we grew up.  It was out in the middle of nowhere except that across the highway was a general store.  I loved to wander through the tight isles of cluttered stock.  There you would find antiques still in their original packaging, never owned or used, and no one considered them of any unusual value.  They were just part of dust covered inventory that had been so long for sale.

Museums move me through the motion of history one object at the time, one painting after another.  There I have joined the nomads of antiquity wandering through the ages.  I’ve gazed at Hezekiah’s prism, the relief of the conquering of Lachish, and the Rosetta Stone among the holdings of the British Museum.  In Israel, I was spellbound by the scroll of Isaiah from Qumran and a boat like Jesus used from his own time.  I have been profoundly impacted with insight into Ruben’s “Sacrifice of Isaac” at the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City.  I’ve pilgrimaged through the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, the Smithsonian and Holocaust Museums in Washington DC, Monticello in Virginia, Jamestown, President Washington’s Mt Vernon, and little museums on unknown streets of cities like Baltimore where I happened upon a visiting exhibit of an artist’s interpretation of the creation.  

The people of God wandered through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 26).  God caused a cloud to rise up and move forward whenever they were to pack up their tents and meander through the stones and crevices of the distant landscapes.  There was no stirring over when to move on and which way to turn.  God’s guidance came as clear as sunshine glancing across a glimmering cloud.  The Majestic set the table with sustenance from heaven and spilled water into their daily lives.  In the center of camp the Creator of all, lite the throne and alter where both sin and sorrow were made white as snow.  The people of God began to think of those days as their honeymoon with God (Hosea 2:14-16).

We who pilgrimage with God are vagabonds on a boundless journey into the mysteries of the divine.  The objects of our joy are a memorial to the memories of the human adventure in communion with God and a vision of mysteries yet unveiled.  We embark on the voyage that enlightens our lives.  Wisdom becomes our graceful garment and the tree of life our destination (Revelation 2:7; 22:14).  The road we travel is a stairway to heaven.  

Then Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51).  

Stephen Williams 

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