Sunday, 3 April 2011

Madaba, Jordan

On the way to the Jordanian-Israeli border we stopped in Madaba to visit St. George's Greek Orthodox Church.

This, in a nutshell, is what I know about St. George:  he was a Roman soldier, a Christian martyr, he killed a dragon in order to save a princess, and he's considered an important military saint.  

Interior of the church.

Dragon slaying.

After the church, we made a stop at Mount Nebo.  According to the book of Deuteronomy, Moses was given a view of the promised land from the top of Mount Nebo.  Moses also died on Mount Nebo, though his grave site is unknown.

 Moses' view of the promised land from the top of Mount Nebo.

Loved this plant on Mount Nebo, whatever the hell it is.

Below is the Brazen Serpent statue on Mount Nebo that was created by an Italian artist.  It it a biblical reference to the bronze serpent Moses created in the wilderness to cure the Israelites from snake bites and to the cross upon which Christ was crucified. 

As I've alluded to before, this trip has been chock full of spiritual moments.  I now believe that travel does that to you...  If you let your mind be open, it's pretty much impossible to avoid.

One thing I've been thinking about is the beautiful symbolism of Christ as the "son of God."  I read this passage (again in Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled) that helped me to better understand what this symbolism means for me, as a spiritual person.

Mosaic art is popular in Jordan.

From the book:

"Why does God want us to grow?  What are we growing toward?  Where is the end point, the goal of evolution?  What is it that God wants of us?...No matter how much we may like to pussyfoot around it, all of us who postulate a loving God and really think about it eventually come to a single terrifying idea:  God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself).  We are growing toward godhood.  God is the goal of evolution.  It is God who is the source of the evolutionary force and God who is the destination.  That is what we mean when we say that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end...

...It is a very old idea, but, by the millions, we run away from it in sheer panic...It is the single most demanding idea in the history of mankind.  Not because it is difficult to conceive; to the contrary, it is the essence of simplicity.  But because if we believe it, it then demands from us all that we can possibly give, all that we have.  It is one thing to believe in a nice old God who will take good care of us from a lofty position of power which we ourselves could never begin to attain.  It is quite another to believe in a God who has it in mind for us precisely that we should attain His position...

Some more Jordanian artwork.  These things are called "Camels Eggs."

Nonetheless, as soon as we believe it is possible for man to become God, we can really never rest for long, never say, 'OK, my job is finished, my work is done.'  We must constantly push ourselves to greater and greater wisdom, greater and greater effectiveness.  By this belief we will have trapped ourselves, at least until death, on an effortful treadmill of self-improvement and spiritual growth...The idea that God is actively nurturing us so that we might grow up to be like Him brings us face to face with our own laziness." 

 Close-up of a Camels Egg.

I don't want this blog entry to become too "deep" but suffice it to say that Scott Peck's description of godhood meant something to me.  It explains to me the symbolism of Jesus Christ and the crucifixion.  Jesus believed what Scott Peck is postulating in The Road Less Traveled.  Jesus was a man that believed he was capable of being God, that we were all capable of godhood.  He believed that he was the son of god.  And people were so terrified by this idea that they crucified him.  They were terrified because the idea that a man could become like god meant that they could become like god, too.  It was a belief that, once believed, demanded all of their effort, it demanded that they work everyday against the entropy of their own laziness.

This belief in godhood demands that we always be putting in an effort to evolve spiritually.   

I think it's a beautiful belief.

No comments:

Post a Comment