I changed my blog heading picture today. Probably not earth shattering information for you but it means something to me. The people in the picture are some of my closest friends. We have been through alot of “stuff” together if you know what I mean. I look at each face and I think of a life God is leading and a family that is following hard after Jesus. More than that though, I changed the blog heading picture because I love the story of the pile of rocks in front of the group. It is not just an ordinary pile of rocks.
After visiting the ruins of ancient Qumran, an essene settlement on the Salt Sea, I offered the group an optional hike. This one is a killer. Its one of those hikes that is not for everyone. We took off up the mountain headed to a point that I had previously only dreamed of seeing. Along the way we passed cave 11 where the scroll of Isaiah was found in the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries. I thought much about how some person, out of sheer love of the text, made this journey to hide away the ancient Words of God from the destructive forces of Rome. What a journey to protect the very words of God.
As we climbed higher my lungs burned and my legs felt like they were going to just stop working completely. Finally, after a hurried, difficult ascent, we reached the pinnacle. After catching my breath I began to look around. To my east the Salt Sea and the beautiful mountains of Moab. To my west, the Judean Wilderness with the sun setting behind it. From this point I could see places like where John the Baptist was beheaded, where Jesus may have been baptized, and the general area of Jesus temptation experience. I thought about all of the truth of the Bible I was viewing with my own eyes. I thought about the importance of the text.
We were not the first people to ever make this journey. Certainly the essenes, ancient defenders of the text, crawled all over these mountains. Their important writings and scribe work offers the Bible tremendous credibility and archaeological backing. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an important 20th century find once again proving the reliablilty of the Biblical text.
At the Summit I asked our group to commit to become people of the Text. People who read it, memorize it, know it, and live it. I wasn’t asking them to be an average, church going, American Christian. Instead I was saying, “Please become a person who values the Bible as the very words of God and lives as if those words should pattern our lives.”
We all made a committment. We wrote our names on the back of a stone along with a scripture passage that seemed very important to each of us at the moment. We added the stones to the pile of other stones left by people committed to the Text.
As we headed down the hill, I thought to myself, “Will my kids be people of the text?” Two points to consider:
1) Am I a person of the text?
2) How will I intentionally lead my kids to become people of the Text?
Wrestle with these questions today. Its not just a pile of rocks…it is the way of Jesus. Stay tuned for more.