“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
The Coliseum was one of the architectural marvels of ancient Rome. Today, it is a deteriorating plie of stone and concrete. Upon it’s completion at the end of the first century, however, it resembled the image above. The structure was covered inside and out with marble and artworks. A vast awning system shielded spectators from the sun. Beneath the wooden floor was a sophisticated complex of passage ways, workshops, holding cells and elevators.
At every level the Coliseum was a testimony to the engineering brilliance of the Romans – and to their unspeakable cruelty.
The word ‘arena’ is the latin word for the ‘sand’ which covered the vast wooden floor. It’s purpose was to soak up the blood. And there was no shortage. How many people and animals died horrific deaths in this place is staggering to imagine – tens of thousands. And it was all for the sake of entertainment.
The Coliseum is a reflection of the tragic paradox of human existence. Created for fellowship with the heavens, we grovel in the filth. In this respect, the architectual magnificence of the Coliseum was a beautiful cloak that covered evil.
Why does God endure the ongoing tragedy of our existence? Why not simply divert an asteroid in our direction and make an end of all this? After all, the evidence againts us is irrefutable and overwhelming. To seek answers to these questions we must look to the Scriptures.
In the week ahead Christians all over the world will be gathering to remember events that occurred at the crossroads of history – what we call Holy Week. Twenty centuries ago the sinful cruelty of man was met by the mercy and grace of God. The promise revealed on the cross and the empty tomb is that God’s love determines the limits of His patience. Can there be any other worthy explanation than the love of God for the long centuries that have elapsed, or that will yet, as we await the consummation of all things?
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”