Friday, May 23, 2008

Rosetta Stones

In 1799 Napoleon’s army made an incredible discovery. They uncovered a 1,000 pound plus black stone. This stone was engraved with three languages including the enigmatic Egyptian hieroglyphs.

For years and years many tried to translate this ancient Egyptian language—pictures without meaning. A mystery, unknown and closed. Then in 1822 Jean-Francois Champollion deciphered the key to the translation of the stone. What was unknown became known.

I have always been enthralled with this great black rock—intrigued by its mystery and the diligence and tenacity Champollion employed as he worked on the translation. I can only imagine the moment when the ancient script began to unfold to Jean-Francois. I can vaguely resonate with the anticipation when the key clicked the lock over and the text became readable—alive.

God is good.

There has to be a better word, a greater concept to convey him. There is not. I cannot articulate him in the confines and finiteness of my own language, even if someone could watch and the language became animated. No, I am limited: every analogy, every metaphor, every description falls short. Each one can only be stretched so far.

Yet, I am incredibly aware that Jesus is our Rosetta Stone. He came to translate God to his people--to us. He came to help us comprehend what seemed to be a complete and closed mystery. He became flesh and dwelled among us so he might translate. He was the translation. When he was finished he sent his Spirit to continue the task.

For a brief time we are on this stage of history, and we are to become smaller Rosetta Stones. And like Champollion, Annie Sullivan and Louis Braille—we are to shed a brief and narrow light on a text that sometimes seems unreadable and enigmatic.

I want my whole life to become a living translation—about you and for you. Let who I am become a metaphor to reveal a little more of you to others. May your Spirit expand, increase, and enable me not only to translate the words and the text, but to help interpret the very nuances of this language. Help me to somehow make the unknown--known.

Enable me to not only speak, but also to think in this language—


I want to be fluent.

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