Taking notice – curiosity
Bonaparte did not know what his men had found demolishing an Egyptian fort to make it larger in 1799, when they took from a buttress a much older stone with writing and pictures all over it, some of these looked like fish or birds of just line scratches in the stone. They found it in the city wall of Rashid.
“Connections”’ is a fairly popular quiz to be found on our television screens at the moment. I do like the question master, Victoria Coren Mitchell, and the eye catching illustrative hieroglyphics fire the imagination. This sign language we now take in, in an amused fashion, unaware of its incredible effect on our learning and culture and attitudes. Until the French Army unearthed and later began the deciphering of what we know today as The Rosetta Stone, the civilisation of the Nile Valley and its long historic influence as the nursery of civilisation was unknown.
The Rosetta Stone was a practical tool: it contained three distinct types of writing. The hieroglyphics being one and the Demotic, a common spoken tongue, and Greek being the third. The stone, therefore, acted as a translator, a companion to the historian and sociologist alike. Each civilisation and language could find an echo of their own origins and identity. An open book that made sense and gave substance to what had been speculation and conjecturer.
These activities and the opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb early last century lead to an Egyptian influence on clothes, hair styles, architecture, particularly in Glasgow. The Great Hall and the Nelson’s Column reflect this. The influence did not last so long in this country.
Internationally today the ‘Rosetta organisation’ covers the teaching of over 24 languages; the Voyager Space craft’s sole purpose, with their contents of a miscellany of languages and artefacts, was to push boundaries back and allow freedom to be seen and heard universally.
The opportunity to listen and the chance to speak and be heard are wonderful moments, beckoning thresholds and doors into new adventures. This intercommunication is necessary for our well being and stability of mind and purpose, endemic to our being, we are known as travellers and sometimes pilgrims.
Much of our lives can be well spent in listening to others and really hearing what is said, not what we imagine to be said. A wise moment will be when we hold our silence and allow space for our neighbour. Encouraging by listening, enabling new challenges to be greeted with hope and good sense, translating the dreams and prayers into our language and our lives. The business of curiosity, adventure and inspiration.
As the miracle of the opening up of the unimaginable world of endeavour and achievement was delivered through the skilled masonic craft many centuries ago so we remind ourselves today of the gift the Christian Faith gives to our world: a universal hope that charms the moment in the human heart; “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people of Mesopotamia ………and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”
Such is the never ending work of the Holy Spirit, of Whit Sunday.
Graham W Bettridge