A fantastic weekend, filled with learning and reconnecting with friends, is now behind me. On Sunday, we closed out our reunion with panel discussions regarding what various graduates are doing with what we have learned. With graduates from 2010-2017, the spectrum, scope and degree varies widely. Almost all of us are teaching and/or sharing about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in one way or another. Some have positions within churches or large ministries where the messages are interwoven into the fabric of the church or ministry’s vision. Others have platforms of a different kind, such as TV broadcasting, hosting tours to Israel, and even importing/exporting goods from small Israeli communities to help them economically. One thing is certain: there is great love for Israel, and a common desire to do what we can to combat anti-Semitism that is so much alive and well today.
Time and space prohibited me from sharing casual tidbits and photos over the past few days, but I’ll share a few now…
First, a few interesting photos from the Museum of the Bible. The 5 story building is a former warehouse that once had a train track running through it. Because it is an historic building, they refurbished the exterior to keep much of the character of the building. For example, large doors on the former loading docks have been turned into windows, and the large entrance where the train pulled into the building is now the entrance to the museum. On either side of the entrance are 40’-tall, 2.5-ton bronze panels with Genesis 1 from the Gutenberg Bible inscribed on them. (Bibles were first mass produced on the Gutenberg printing press.) The impressive entrance will undoubtedly be the landmark by which the museum will be recognized. Special lighting will illuminate those bronze panels to make them stand out even more. Crews finished installing those panels the day before our tour!
The museum is jam-packed with features too numerous to mention, but here are a few:
- The upper floors have a fantastic view of the Capital building, only 3-4 blocks away.
- Museum of the Bible commissioned the “Drive thru History” folks to shoot footage in and around Israel for a section in the museum, as well as for video production. (You may recognize Dave Stott, the tour guide on that series, and a replica of the famous Jeep in that series is being assembled!) In the “it’s a small world” category, I was privileged to meet the guys behind the cameras when they accompanied Del Tackett on a Grand Canyon video shoot I went on several years ago. Later, I had a very small part in editing some of the material on the “Drive thru the Holy Land” series. (Yes, my name is in the credits, but you have to look quickly!)
- The administrative offices are on the top floor, and include temporary living quarters for visiting scholars, researchers, etc.
- Another section of the museum will include a “flyby” of Scriptural references that adorn US government buildings all over Washington DC. The machine, designed to make guests feel like they’re flying, was developed for the Museum of the Bible, but will soon be used for different types of effect at various other attractions around the US and the world. You see the triangular frame of that contraption in the accompanying photo. It just arrived for installation.
- While touring, we entered a room in which Cary Summers warned us firmly against taking any pictures or video. Why? Some of Disney’s finest have been hired to produce some very high-tech graphics for a surround theater. Those guys were busy at work on some highly-technical, computerized equipment!
On Sunday, we had a 2-hour lunch break, so I made my way one mile down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. A very large crane adorned the front lawn, presumably part of the major remodeling the President is having done in the Oval Office and other parts of the White House! However, I joined the throng of people on the opposite side taking selfies! (My first ever!)
So, what does a museum and the White House have to do with Israel? Well, stop and think…no Israel, no Bible! Also, Museum of the Bible is a very active partner with Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Research Center. Not only will they share resources, but MOTB is a major sponsor of the Christian Leadership Conferences and Reunions. In fact, at last year’s reunion, we witnessed the signing of a joint declaration of cooperation between the two! What a fantastic partnership.
And the White House? Well, I will always make a point of going there to pray for our President when I am in DC, and one prayer I always include is that our President and our government will bless Israel, as Genesis 12:3 exhorts us to do! I hope you will do the same!
Blessings from Washington DC!