Just back from Ottawa

Actually the idea of starting a xanga account came to my mind when I wanted to put down thoughts for the Banff journey like 2 weeks ago. Now I’m even back from ottawa and I still haven’t started writing about Banff . Never mind. Anyway this Ottawa trip is a lot more inspiring, especially after today’s Pompeii exhibition in Museum of Civilisation. Because of the falling 400簞C ashes from the Vesuvius Mountain on 24th August 79AD, the city was frozen in time in an instant. The excavation is not excavation of a vacant town, it’s a living town frozen in time.

People are usually interested in the how Fiorelli made the human casts, the geography of the volcano, etc. But the question in my head all along was “why?”. The biggest “why” should be, why didn’t these people flee? Although the ashes must have caught the peopel by surprise, a lot of the human casts tell how in fact these people knew that death was coming…Nearby cities such as Herculaneum recorded far less bodies in the city. Everybody did die but most died only after they had fled to the sea and couldn’t make further. The thick column of ashes rose to miles up the sky. Anybody with 1000簞 short sight could see it. Hours before the crucial eruption of lava, the column of ashes above the mountain was already blocking the sun, making 1pm just as 1am. And the ashes were already beginning to fall, balls of frozen lava were big enough to destroy life. And people in Herculaneum fled, why didn’t those in Pompeii?

Excavation shows individual humans clinging to all their jewelery and money. They didn’t want to leave their riches behind. 

Can this alone be a warning to us? “On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:31-33

And why did it happen? The old testament records God destroying whole cities because of their unacceptable sins. And it is certain that people Pompeii were highly lavish and immoral. The city’s frescoes depict extreme obscenity. The >1000簞C hot lava from the crucial eruption of the volcano was said to flow towards just one direction, and it headed straight to Pompeii.

Could they have worse sins than us? “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:5


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