Wednesday, June 08, 2011

King Tut, Rachel and Me--Or, Dad's, You Should Date Your Daughters

It's summer, Rachel's out of school, so we did something special for our date tonight--we went to see the King Tut exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum. The experience was a good one for Rachel but it was a great one for me. Reason being, King Tut was all the rage when I was a kid and I've wanted to see this exhibit for a long time.

The journey began with an obligatory trip down memory lane. Yes, I watched the video of Steve Martin's classic "King Tut"--more than once. When I was young, I listened to that song so many times that I memorized every word and can recall them all to this day. So I just had to laugh when I found myself lined up "just to see the boy king"--never thought that would actually happen, but it did!

Before we went into the exhibit, we watched an omni-theater film about the Egyptians mummies, particularly the Pharaohs. It was a good film and made the experience of the exhibit all the more meaningful. I'm not sure the film alone would be worth a trip to Saint Paul, but if you're interested in Egyptian history for one reason or another it's certainly worth the price of the ticket. As a Bible teacher, I found it very enlightening, especially because one of the mummified Pharaohs was likely the one of which we read in Exodus--and his body is so well preserved that you can easily make out his facial features and see some of his hair. The narrator made the comment, "This is the only character in the Bible who has been preserved for us." I found that comment both fascinating and funny.

As for the exhibit itself, I found it extraordinary. It's quite late now and I doubt I'll be able to find the words to express how I felt but let me try--and please forgive me if what I say sounds strange! I've spent many years studying the ancient history of Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and the like, and thus I felt somewhat breath-taken as I stood inches away from statues and carvings and crafts that were created by 3,000+ year-old artisans. These artisans were alive at the same time some of our biblical heroes were alive--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses to name a few.

And coming so close to their handiwork somehow made time collapse so that I felt as though I was not at such a distance from them. One day some person took up the tools of his trade and crafted an artifact and some days later I stood there beholding his handiwork up close and personal. I don't know, the older I get and the more I study, the easier it is for me to see that the people of the Bible and surrounding cultures were just people like you and me. The exhibit helped me to feel that at a deeper level.

As for King Tut himself, there were several portions of the exhibit dedicated to him and his tomb. It's a fascinating story, really, but I'll leave that for you to look up on your own. His mummified body was not on display as it's kept in the Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt, but an exact replica of it was and that in itself was fascinating. It's hard to get your mind around how a person's body could be so well preserved after so many years but, again, looking at that replica made ancient dead people seem more like...well...people.

As I stood there taking in the details of that replica, I thought of the great and terrible day of the Lord when he will command his prophets to prophesy over the dead bones of so many billions of people that they might be raised from the dead. The righteous will be raised to eternal life and the unrighteous will be raised to eternal judgment (Ezekiel 37; Matthew 25). I both rejoiced and trembled at that day and prayed that God would grant me the grace to be ready for it by the might and mercy of Christ.And I smiled the smile of a beloved son as I remembered the words of Jesus in John 10:27-30, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

After the exhibit, Rachel and I went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Minneapolis to get a bite to eat. We were actually trying to go to Chevy's, one of our favorite Mexican Restaurants, but it was closed--closed down, that is--so Hard Rock was the only thing open we could afford! I didn't like the atmosphere but the food was good. We had a few laughs together and enjoyed one another's company and then drove home.

We had a really good date tonight. And by the way, Dads, you should date your daughters (or sons for that matter, although if you have sons call this time something more manly than a date!). I've been doing this since Rachel was three or four and it is one of the deepest joys of my life and hers. I love my little girl so much, I can't even tell you, but that love is the fruit of many small investments over a number of years. The difficulty of fitting this into my busy schedule every week is well worth the relationship that has come as a result of it. Just take the plunge and do it, you won't regret it and your children will benefit for life.

Alright, it's time to go to bed--you've got to be kidding, it's almost 1:00 a.m.--ugh! Since it's so late and I'm probably not thinking straight, here's Steve Martin's classic nod to the old boy king. To see the  SNL version, just google 'Steve Martin King Tut' and it'll come up.

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