ONE SMALL RING
“And sometimes I think about a one-and-a-half-year old child with its baby teeth still coming in, whose days on this earth were so very, very few.” (National Geographic, July 1988, page 53)
The author of the article, haunted by that scene as he unearthed the remains of a 4th century town on the Island of Cyprus, looked on it as a tragedy. Indeed, it was a devastating earthquake that had quelled the life of the entire village.
The Greek-speaking Christian city of Kourion on that late July day A.D. 365, had been secure in its pre-dawn slumber. Most people were indoors, as was the family of three found nestled together in their sleeping chamber. Here were found a young woman of nineteen cuddling her eighteen-month-old child and the father of twenty-eight with his body stretched protectively over them both.
The author deals with those final moments in terms of the “epicenter,” “fore-shocks” and “waves” as he tries to piece the events together. But those last seconds are as clear to me as if they had been experienced firsthand.
The baby cries in alarm as the first wave rocks his home. The parents reach out to calm him as the next and far more deadly wave hits within seconds. The walls crack, timbers fall, the solid earth trembles like a bowl of Jello but hysteria and panic do not invade their quarters. The father extends his body over his young family. Before the nineteen-second quake has passed, the family is asleep in death. They are secure with each other, and secure in the arms of their Savior; for we see that the author has unwittingly preached a powerful sermon on trust when he adds the simple note, “The man wore a Christian ring inscribed with the Chi Rho.” If the author is haunted by the “untimely” death of an eighteen-month-old child, to me the very rocks are crying aloud the glory of God. When my fears give way to panic and threaten to overwhelm me, I will think of this family and the ring, and their story which gives new meaning to the words:
“Should swift death this night o’ertake us
And our couch become our tomb,
May the morn in heaven awake us
Clad in light and deathless bloom.”( TLH 565 v.4)
“And sometimes I think about a one-and-a-half-year old child with its baby teeth still coming in, whose days on this earth were so very, very few.” (National Geographic, July 1988, page 53) The author of the article, haunted by that scene as he unearthed the remains of a 4th century town on the Island of..Read More ›
We spent a half week with all nine of the children and the twelve grandchildren. The occasion was our son’s wedding. Tears threatened when the boys, now men, stood as groomsmen for their brother. The struggle of our grandson to stay awake and the relaxed attitude in one of the boy’s suits served to prevent..Read More ›