By Amy Ross
Amy is a friend of mine who encountered an interesting coincidence while on a mission trip…
Walking in front of Edinburgh castle on Wednesday after Andrej met me at the train station, I was handed a flyer by a man dressed as a monk. I didn’t pay much attention until I heard him say to the next person, “Free tour tonight.”
I assumed the tour guides would be expecting tips, like the famous free walking tour that I missed in Paris due to my bad foot. Little did I guess what they were really up to.
About halfway through the tour, we stopped in front of a statue of David Hume, reclining Roman-style on a throne with a smug look on his face, clutching a pair of blank stone tablets.
“Anyone think they know what the blank stone tablets represent?”
The Ten Commandments, of course, and our Cuthbert-dressed tour guide proceeded to explain that the tablets are blank to represent that David Hume didn’t believe humans have a need for laws passed down by a divine being. Then he took us around behind the statue to point out an image of Medusa on the backside of Hume’s throne. I think he explained what the image was supposed to represent, but I was too distracted by the tour guide dressed as John Knox who had climbed up on the front of the statue, and seemed to be tacking something onto the front of the blank tablets.
Finally he called us around to the front and sure enough, a laminated copy of the Ten Commandments was now affixed to the formerly blank tablets.
“What are you doing, Master Knox?” asked Cuthbert.
“Ah, Master Cuthbert!” replied Knox, completely in character, “I thought I would restore God’s law to the place where it belongs.” And then he asked a question I was NOT expecting to hear. “What does Commandment number 9 say? Anyone here ever NOT told a lie? What do you call someone who tells lies? How about number 8? I bet all of us has stolen something before, even if it was small. And number 7? Jesus said that if you’ve even looked at another person lustfully, you’ve committed adultery with him or her in your heart. Anyone here ever NOT done that? So by your own admission, you are all lying, thieving adulterers at heart.” And then he continued the tour. I couldn’t help giggling slightly, but the whole time, I kept looking around to see how the other people on the tour were accepting it. No one seemed as surprised as me, however. Either they had already known that was coming, or they thought that the actor was still simply playing his historical role.
Later on, Master Knox continued sharing the gospel, but again working it into the historical tour quite naturally. “Most of you have probably wondered at some point why God allows bad things to continue. But if God were to get rid of all the evil in the world, wouldn’t he also have to get rid of you and me, lying, thieving, adulterers that we are? Isn’t it wonderful, then, that Jesus took the punishment for all our stealing, lies, and adultery?”
I thought it was so clever how the two actors wove the gospel message into their historical tour. It is, after all, the most relevant message in any story, and I loved seeing it presented that way.
The tour started at Edinburgh castle, and wove its way down the street known as “The Royal Mile”, ending at a church that we were told was originally founded by Dwight Moody. (“An American evangelist. Any Americans here? Just one? God bless you.”) Behind the church was a small cafe, where we were invited in for tea and coffee, and our tour guides sat and spoke individually with each person on the tour.
What an awesome way to reach out! That evening was one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip. Don’t let anyone tell you that the British church is dead.