An Underground Obsession
I'm a little jealous. I was reading the work of an Oxford scholar recently, when he mentioned finding a piece of Iron Age jewelry in the ground. His neighbor had uncovered Roman coins while plowing his field. All across Europe, such finds are rather commonplace.
I have dug up the ground behind a number of houses here in North America for various reasons, and I have never found any lingering remnants of antiquity. I didn't expect to find anything, either: such finds are rare in North America and if they are found, they tend to be unearthed on the East Coast where a rather surprising number of Europeans seem to have landed well in advance of Columbus.
I have long wished there was more antiquity to be discovered here in the New World. There are, of course, the remnants of Native American villages to be discovered, and some tantalizing hints that the Chinese may have explored the West Coast in pre-Columbian times. (There is even an ancient Asian travel journal that appears to describe the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, where I currently live).
But for the most part, backyard discoveries are rather rare. Maybe that's a good thing; I'd probably make fans of Pokémon Go look uncommitted by comparison to my zeal for digging up every yard in my neighborhood.
I'm not the only one who's interested in what lies beneath the surface, however. An article from Harvard recently announced that the remains of 160 Philistines have been discovered in Ashkelon, just north of Tel Aviv. It's not quite as earth-shattering as the discovery of Hittite ruins in 1834 that silenced the critics who mocked the Bible's mention of them; the existence of Philistines has been well-established.
Perhaps I missed my calling. Maybe I should have been an archaeology and history major. My 15-year-old self would recoil in horror at the suggestion, because before I was a Christian, I detested history class. (It was, in my defense, Canadian history, which tends to be . . . well, boring.) Today, I can't get enough. The ancient world, I've discovered, establishes who we are as human beings. It also demonstrates, for anyone who wants to see it, God's uncanny ability to nudge events towards history's grand climax—the kingdom of Christ—all without violating human free will.
But I have been called to be a preacher. Fortunately, that includes a lot of history. And it also includes a Master who is also exceptionally interested in what—or whom—lies beneath the ground.
As you will remember, He has promised to wake them all up! (John 5:28, 29)