“For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.”
Last spring my husband and I spent several days marveling at the ruins of ancient Greece. From our Athens hotel room, we had a perfect view of the Parthenon lighted up at night just like the shots during the Olympics. Awesome!
Today’s readings, especially the psalm, speak to this experience. They remind us of how small and transitory even the most astonishing works of man are compared with the work of God and eternity.
Before going to Greece, I read up on its history, geography and mythology because I had only dim memories from high school history, especially about Delphi, once the region’s spiritual center. Today its impressive piles of stones and fragments of buildings are reminders of long-gone power and influence. Tourists listen to lectures to understand Delphi’s significance. Then they head back to the souvenir shops and the street life of Athens.
In God’s eyes, what happened in ancient Greece is “as yesterday” just like the achievements of our own time will soon be. Human power and glory are as mythical in the long term as the advice the Oracle at Delphi dispensed!
So what’s important? What kind of legacy counts? I think of my friend, the late Bob Reilly , an outstanding author of many books, but an even more outstanding teacher and human being. At his packed wake, people spoke of his books but that wasn’t why they came. Bob had touched every one of us with his kindness, mentoring and warmth. He patiently guided me through writing my first book. His wisdom and encouragement were invaluable.
I’ll take a legacy of kindness like Bob’s over a pile of stones any day. So, I think, will the Lord.
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