So, you know Hobby Lobby, right? It’s the arts and crafts store with all the pretty accessories too? Hobby Lobby is owned by the Green family. Steve Green has been the CEO since 2004.
In 2009, Steve started collecting biblical artifacts which now includes over 40,000 items and called The Green Collection.
In 2011, 400 items were put into a traveling exhibit of biblical artifacts called Passages.
Passages exhibit opened in Oklahoma City, moved to Atlanta and most recently, I found out somewhere on the Internets that Passages moved right here (here for me, not you. well, maybe you.) in Charlotte.
And THEN I realized that the exhibit is literally next door to my office complex (one exit passed IKEA!). When I was at the office yesterday, I realized I could see their building right through the trees.
So yesterday at lunch, I threw my lunch plans out the window and headed over to Passages.
When you walk in the lobby, you’re greeted by displays from Wycliffe and The Voice of the Martyrs. I could have spent a ton of time there alone. The Voice of the Martyrs had these large journals set out where visitors could write sections of the Bible. They had a stand for each Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I randomly chose to write Luke 22:27-30.
Mm. That’s good stuff.
So once you get passed this lobby section, you go get your ticket in the gift shop. I could have spent lots-o-money. They had books and Bibles and prayer shawls and paintings and all sorts of good stuff. Just love.
With a Christmas special they have right now, I was able to get $5 off my ticket plus an audio tour on an iPod touch which was big points in my book, don’t ya know.
Unfortunately, I was not able to take pictures of the displays but let me share a few things I really liked seeing.
- In the first exhibit they had an exact replica of a scroll of Isaiah completely rolled out. It was the original paper stitched together in the original Hebrew. The paper was probably 20 feet long. The scroll really put into perspective what the Bible originally looked like. I mean, I knew it logically, but to see it in person was something different.
- They had some original containers that housed The Torah. Jews believed The Torah was literally the face of God so they had very ornate containers. Some were metal and some were ornate fabric.
- They had cases and cases of Bibles, all from different countries and times. As an American, I of course have this tendency to believe the world evolves around us. The displays were a good to reminder there have been thousands of years of translations and differing formats. Some Bibles had pictures, some were large, some were small, some had clasps, all in different languages.
- They had this one small scroll still bound by a leather strap, probably 6” wide and rolled into about a 1” cylinder. The audio said that’s what one of Paul’s letters to the churches would have looked like. Amazing. You just don’t think of it that way.
- They talked a lot about how the Bible has been reprinted and had a lot of emphasis on Gutenberg’s Press. They had a working replica of his press and I was able to get a live printing of 1 Samuel in Latin. It’s so cool, you can actually see Abigail’s name when you look closely.
Unfortunately, I was having to speed through the exhibit. I didn’t listen to the majority of the audio. They had a ton of cool video you could stop and listen to and even printing activities you could participate in. I’d definitely donate several hours to viewing it properly. The site told me so but you know, I had to fit in what I could.
One special moment occurred when I got caught up in a senior citizen group touring the exhibit. The exhibit was pretty empty besides their group and a few of us other straggling individuals. This sweet elderly lady turned to me with the biggest grin and started talking like she knew me. “Isn’t this wonderful? I just didn’t all of this existed.” I made some more small talk with her and moved on. But it reminded me of how we’re always learning about the Lord. We’ll never “get there”. And more than that, it was definitely one of those “this is how Heaven is going to be” moments. We’ll all just know each other and rejoice in the things of God together.
I can’t recommend it enough for everyone in the area—or even close to the area. Definitely take advantage of their Christmas special that is going on now until the end of the year.
This isn’t a sponsored post, just wanted to share!
*picture source of entrance and display cover to Passages Facebook