I went to the British Museum today to check out the special exhibition on Babylon: Myth and Reality. It was a strangely moving experience.

Babylon exhibition at the British Museum

There are some great pieces on display reflecting the development of the city in history and the imagination. What struck me most of all was a relief of one of the many lions that adorned the walkway leading up to the Ishtar gate.

Standing there in front of this vibrant and ferocious animal, I realised that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian ruler behind the destruction of Jerusalem, would have seen the very same image. More poignant for me, especially in light of teaching Isaiah last term, numerous exiled Israelites must have cast their weep-weary eyes on it as well.

One of the reasons I love teaching the Bible at a mission training Bible College is that I am constantly reminded of the need to cross cultural boundaries. Experiences like today’s are important because reading the Bible is itself a cross-cultural task and experience. Anything that can connect us to the ancient and sometimes alien world of the Scriptures is to be cherished.

Do take a trip to the Museum if you can. The exhibition is still running for a couple more months. Even without the Babylon displays it is well worth a visit.

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