There is nothing ancient in America. We have nothing that is truly old. Our oldest and most esteemed buildings are decades old, not centuries. It is hard to truly appreciate this until you have been someplace that is truly ancient.
Within moments of landing in Rome, our guide shared that we were driving through a gate in the old walls of Rome built by Hadrian in the 4th century. Later we toured churches, and other monuments that were were older than the Constitution. Frankly, I laughed out loud when our tour guide discussed the original church that was built in the 300’s on the current site of St. Peter’s Basilica. That building was torn down in the 1500’s to build the “new” building that is the current church we have all seen. Our guide asked why I was laughing and I said… “This is the new building? It is older than the Plymouth Colonies”
Why is this important? Simple. Humanity does not change. We are the same beings that were created by God yesterday, today and forever. We are not getting smarter, more capable or more enlightened. We are created in the image and likeness of God and we were created with the full potential of our humanity from the first day of creation. We have new technologies and new means of relating to creation but we are no different. I stood for over an hour in the middle of the Roman Colosseum which held 100,000 people over 2,000 years ago for sporting events. It was a building that could have been built 20 years ago. It had walkways, vendor booths, box seating, a field of play and a complex shade system that was suspended over the seating areas to provide shade. I marveled at the beauty of this ancient building and grappled with the truth. We are human. We are born with a need for relationship with God and through Jesus we have it. But our humanity is part of an unbroken string from Adam to now. As I walked out of the building I realized that when I read the Bible it is necessary for me to remember that these people were not that different than us. Same hopes, dreams, fears, desires, and needs.
Thousand and thousands of years may come and go… and we are still the same.