Friday, February 1, 2013

A Lesson From An Ancient Ruin

Our ministry here in Cambodia was cut short by one day because of the death of the former King about a month ago. Today, they honored him, meaning that all military and police were not supposed to work. We took the opportunity to go visit Angkor Wat, one of the largest and oldest historical ruins in the world. They say that it was built about 1,000 years ago and took 400 years to complete. It is comprised of over 300 ancient temples in 20 square kilometers. We spent close to four hours there and only saw three of temples.

At some point in history, the entire place was abandoned and forgotten. During that time, the jungle simple grew over it and made it disappear. Nobody really knows what happened that caused the people to simply disappear. Maybe a plague or something spiritual caused them to flee. But the complex was rediscovered in the late 1800s by a French explorer. As you can tell from the picture, many of the trees simply grew up, over, and in the incredible block walls. To help put this in perspective for some Americans, this is where Laura Croft Tomb Raider was filmed.

One of the things that really struck me about this place is the detailed handiwork all over the place. Let me just emphasize how large these places are and everywhere you look, there is intricate details on the stone. To think that over a thousand years ago, men built thousands of really large buildings by hand and made detail carvings on most them. I have a point to make about the Christian life, but before I get there, check out some of these details.

Don't forget that this is stone that had to be carved

In the main complex, there are these dancers everywhere.

52 large faces in honor of the King

One thing that is helpful to understand about Angkor Wat is that it is not just a cool place where people lived. It is mostly comprised of temples in the worship of their false gods. I thought it would feel more oppressive when I was there, but I didn't seem to sense that at all. But when I saw the countless examples of intricate detail work, I was struck by one very humbling thought:

What would Christianity look like if we took as much intricate care in the worship of Jesus as they did in their care for the worship of their false gods?

Seriously. They took things seriously. What would our churches look like if we took our worship that serious? What if people saw their ministries as serving their King and then intricately worked to give it their best? How would the music sound? How would the building teams operate? How would it change the way people gave of their money? How would it change the way people prepared for small group? How would it change the preaching? And so on we could go.

The Apostle Peter does say that our service to King Jesus is in fact worship (1 Peter 4:10-11). And since we know that He is the One True God, I wish I (we) would take things more seriously. Don't you?

1 comment:

  1. That is amazing. To think that this is all built and dedicated to their God(s) or King who can do nothing for them.


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