It started out as an ordinary day. Vendors sold their wares, men went to work, headed for the forum or went to the baths. Women cared for their children, children played, slaves scurried about during their assigned tasks and dogs barked. It was an ordinary day.
Noon came and just like we do now, people prepared and ate their noon meal and sought shelter from the hot summer sun. It was a rather peaceful, uneventful, ordinary summer day except... this was Pompeii and the date was August 24th in 79 A.D. Around 1:00 p.m., the pressure building up within Mount Vesuvius literally blew the top of the mountain off and the lives of more than 20,000 people were changed forever.
The people of Pompeii and Herculaneum did not realize they were living on a time bomb... but they might have, if they would have paid attention to the signs. Seventeen years before there had been an earthquake which had done a great deal of damage to the city. Archaeologists have since discovered that repair work was still going on at the time of the eruption. Tremors had reportedly become very common place, so much so that people no longer paid any attention to them. There were reports of wells suddenly becoming dry and a scarcity of animals in the vicinity. The signs that something was amiss were all there... but it appears that most people paid little if any attention to the signs.
Their denial of the situation and failure to pay attention to the warning signs did not in any way stop the impending doom. It didn't even slow it down. They could try to argue that they didn't know but that would make absolutely no difference whatsoever. It didn't matter. They didn't pay attention to the signs and as a result, more than 5,000 people in Pompeii died and were buried on the ash and lava spew out by Vesuvius.
Each summer I teach two ancient civilization classes to elementary students. Each time I teach about Pompeii, I am reminded of how quickly life can change in an instant. If our circumstances are good, we do not like to think about that. We prefer to go about our business of eating, drinking and making merry; behaving like we are going to live forever. As Christians, we will... but not in this world.
The story of Pompeii is a sobering reminder to me that nothing in this world lasts forever. It reminds me to pay attention to warning signs lest I be caught unaware like the people of Pompeii. It reminds me that while heaven and earth will pass away, God will not and the only place of safety is to be tucked away in His hands.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fritobandito/167885021
Sister K, thanks for this blog. May we reminded of the signs of the Return of our Lord as we also watch the sign of the world events around us. May we prepare ourselves and be ready always.[img]http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/weather/raincloud.gif[/img]
From Hwa [img]http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/office/fountainpen.gif[/img] Silverpen