Greater Things Than These

In a series of dramatic revelations the Lord shows the great abomination of the leaders of the Old Testament church culminating with their worship of the sun. He moves the narrative along saying each time that Ezekiel will see greater abominations than these (Ezk. 8). Out of Africa I will show you greater things here (where you are) than there (Africa).

In her 1937 book Out of Africa a woman under the pen name Isak Dinesen tells wonderful tales of her decades there. Twenty-five years later she revisits the book in Shadows on the Grass. What I relate is from the section “Fara” or “Barua a Soldani”. Since I listened to an audiobook and no print preview is available I can be no more specific than this.

One of the natives living on her land has his leg crushed when a tree falls on it. She is called to help but has no morphine with her. She gives him a sugar cube she carried for the native boys on the plains herding goats. It actually seemed to help. I will show you great things than these.

When she runs out, she doesn’t know what to do till she remembers she has a letter from the King of Denmark, her home country, thanking her for a lion skin she had given him. The natives have high regard for the words of a king. She told him what it was and placed that letter on his stomach holding it firmly in place with her hand. The man with the shattered leg was soothed. When her car was fetched, the native insisted her personal servant drive so she could hold the letter in place. I will show you great things than these.

When the news got out about the powerful, soothing power of the king’s letter, it became a totem. Natives showed up asking for the powerful medicine. She kept it in a pouch with a cord which the native would carry to the ill. I will show you greater things than these.

Dinesen, whose real name is Karen Blixen, relates that the Arabs would write the words of the Koran in charcoal on rock and wash them off into a cup and give them to drink to suffering Muslims. It was the strongest medicine to them. I will show you greater things than these.

Now, you’re screaming at the screen: “Placebo effect” or worse “ex opere operato” or perhaps, “Here the heretic Harris goes again. The greatest thing that I can show you is the Word of the King of kings which we have. Surely, His Words are to be more revered than that of the king of Denmark’s are. The greatest thing that I have to show you is better than drinking the words of the Koran. No, it’s not masticating and swallowing the pages of Scripture. King Menelik of Ethiopia (1844-1913) ate a page or two of the Bible whenever he was sick or heavy-hearted believing the printed page had curative properties. “He died as a result of eating the Book of Kings in a heavy Egyptian edition” (Wonder Book of Strange Facts, 453).

The greatest thing I show you is that you eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Word made Flesh who promises He gave and shed them for you for the forgiveness of sins. The greatest thing I can assure you of is that where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life now and salvation forever. Finally, as great as the story out of Africa is, it pails compared to what comes out of the mouth of your Lord.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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