London Journal – Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Objects from any culture give us deep insights into the ideas and values of the people of that time.

We looked at some objects from the past, and reflected on their meaning, at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Brampton Road. The museum is named, of course, for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

This was an excursion day for our team, minus Jay, who is in USA for a conference. An excursion day for us in not pure diversion; we find ourselves talking about ministry much of the time.

At the museum we saw this depiction of “Truth and Falsehood” by Alfred Stevens.

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When you see the statue up close you see that Falsehodd has a long forked tongue, and Truth is forcibly removing it. This image caught my attention because of the work our London team, and the church everywhere, does in apologtics and polemics, presenting the truth of God’s Word against the lies of our day.

We also saw a marvelous carpet, 17 by 35 feet.

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It is one of the largest and fines Islamic carpets in existence, made in 1540, kept under soft lighting, to preserve it. It was commissioned by the ruler of Iran for a shrine for one of his ancestors, in the town of Ardabil in northwest Iran. Hence, it’s name – the Ardabil carpet.

The staff of “Interiors!” in Lancaster, PA, would appreciate the workmanship and value of this object far more than does the average museum browser.

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It has 304 knots per square inch.This is the magnificent center design.

I was also astounded to see the Great Bed of Ware.

bed-of-ware

Originally in an inn in the town of Ware, 22 miles north of London, this is an extra large oak four poster bed, carved with designs on the posts, and with inset panels at the head and on the “ceiling.” It measures 10 feet by 11 feet and can sleep 15 people at once! Provided they are not the kind of people who appear on a certain reality weight-loss show today. But 15 peoole – talk about a slumber party!

Out on the street again, our party – not slumbering – ate at the Bunch of Grapes pub on Brompton Road, and after the meal, had a prayer time. Not sure how often group prayers are offered in a pub, but it happened today at Bunch of Grapes. As for the name of the pub, I had to think of Jesus’ imagery of the vine and branches – and the promise that his disciples will bear a whole lot of really good fruit if they stick close to him.

Also on Brampton Road, in a card shop I saw this quote, and of course I had to write it down:
You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again. – Nancy Prudden

How are you regarding the passing of time? What might it mean for you to wind the clock again?

London has so many inviting places to eat, but sometimes we ignore all that and have a simple meal in our room, as we did tonight, dining on peanut butter crackers brought from home, and an apple. The apple, bought at the stand next door to our hotel, was a red delicious, and the sticker on it surprised us by saying “Product of USA.”

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2 Responses

  1. Thank-you for the pictures, particularly the one of the ‘Great Bed of Ware.’ Did I pass along to you a copy of Andy Crouch’s, Culture-Making: Recovering our Creative Calling, http://www.culture-making.com/ … it’s a helpful tool for reflection and conversation.

    Note: Andy will be with Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ on Sunday, April 19. Hope you can join us, bringing some of your insights and pictures for our conversation.

    • Tom,
      Yes, you gave me a copy of Crouch’s book. I hope to start reading it soon.
      About April 19, I hope to be there. I will get back to you about details.
      John

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