Today I had the opportunity to ride with a friend to the northern reaches of the Atlanta Metropolitan area to a world class exhibit, a refreshing lunch, and a meeting with fascinating people.
When I first heard of Passages on the radio, I was excited and have shared the news with many that the exhibit was only stopping in five major world cities – and Atlanta was one. The exhibit closes the evening of June 30th so, if you are in the greater Atlanta area make the pilgrimage tomorrow – it is well worth your time. Passages is an interactive exhibit and display of very rare and important manuscripts and Bibles. The collection is mostly the private holdings of Steven Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby. The manuscript collection includes Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and Coptic papyri, vellum, codices and scrolls ranging from the 3rd century BC well in to the middle ages. All are interesting while a few are very impressive including a fragment of Genesis from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a second century papyri from chapter eight of John’s gospel. Also included in the collection is a 3rd century Greek letter from a young man named Theon to his mother in the midst of Roman persecutions. The exhibit spans the history of Bible translation and transmission through the Roman Empire to the middle ages and the tumultuous period of the Reformation. This general time frame includes impressive displays of a working Guttenburg Press, writings of Luther, films, and an animatronic John Knox preaching in Geneva. This culminates in an impressive collection of English Bibles ranging from Wycliffe to the Geneva Bible, Coverdale, Matthews, Bishop’s, Tyndale, and the many and various editions, printings and misprinting of the Authorized King James Bible. What’s more, is that this only covers about half of what is displayed.
Here I pose with the Guttenburg Press. Just before this picture was taken, we were given a complimentary sheet of 1 Samuel 25 in German printed by the press. As we were in line receiving our sheets one woman commented, “I will take one to my pastor.” I decided to respond, “he will appreciate that.” My friend said, “well, I am not taking one to my pastor.” She asked why not, and he responded his pastor was with him. She looked me up and down and said, “we have a young one too, he’s 48. . .”
Here, I “photobomb” John Knox while he is preaching in Geneva.
I have seen the greatest displays and artifacts of this type in Wittenberg, the Vatican, and Jerusalem – however, this is still an impressive and very well interpreted display. I still walk away with a worshipful heart, thanking God for his truth and unchanging and unshakable Word.
After having thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit, I then experienced Sweet Tomatoes for the first time. This is the world’s greatest salad bar, hands down. Everything is fresh and delicious. Aside from any salad fixing or topping you can imagine, there is also a corner with rolls, muffins, focaccia bread, and soups.
After lunch, my friend took me to meet his parents who met while working on the Manhattan project – seriously. They were a precious couple in to their nineties, and their home itself qualifies as a display in many ways as they have collected life – man books, a model train, fallout shelter, 1930s Ford coop and a three hundred year old German family Bible. Of course, the greatest treasure of the home is the couple themselves – six decades in one place, happy for every minute they have.
So today, I am thankful, thankful for a good day, thankful for how He has preserved his word, thankful to be able to read Greek and Hebrew, thankful that I don’t have to read His word, thankful for fresh vegetables, thankful for grace, friends, and ink stained hands and taco night.
There my friends – a regular good day in the life of John Blackmon.