Post 66 / The Next Language
November 22, 2021
Works of Man
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death. [Pro 14:12 KJV]
On our return from delivering Gustavo and Stephen and Joel to record the Mixteco: Yutanduchi de Guerrero and Mixteco: Mitlatongo, Francisco and I swung past some ruins near our rented house in Tlaxiaco. These were the ruins of San Martin Huamelulpam. Still technically closed due to the vagaries of covid but open enough to graphically see the evidence of man’s efforts to please God- both ancient and not so ancient.
Very evident is the base of a pyramid which appeared to double in two stages as a viewing gallery to a ceremonial sacrifice bench where two slabs of stone were shaped and sized to hold the torso of human sacrifices while their hearts were cut out. Between the slabs was a pit where I presume the corpses were thrown.
In the immediate foreground was a Catholic church dated to the 1960s along the remains of the older church that was dated to the 1930s – both relatively recent and probably concurrent with the excavations that exposed these ruins.
In the wall of the church were embedded sculptures that had come from the ruins. Prominent is the life size stone figure of a sacrifice representing both men and women with their hearts cut out.
This seems gross by modern standards but is it any less evil than the clinical abortions that I am sure vastly exceed in number the human lives that fueled these ancient ceremonies? The connection between the distant and the less distant past is evident in some of our elicited word lists where we find the word for God to be a Spanish version of saint. Almost 100% of the villages in Mexico are named for a Catholic saint. The ruins pictured above are in the village of San Martin. Every saint has a date (they say there are 365 of them). Once a year those saints are taken out of the church and paraded in the streets for all to see—accompanied by a time of revelry and drunkenness.
In July the three of us arrived at the Village of Jesus Maria y Jose just as one of their saints was out and we “happened” to pull into line at the very head of the parade! We thought the crowds along the street were welcoming us. We stopped for tacos and learned from a policeman that we would need to move our vehicle so the parade could proceed.
The Catholic veneer that replaced the human sacrificial system might look better at first but the underlying dynamics are just as pagan for the most part. These represent two kinds of what our language helpers call “idolatry” that fall short of pleasing God.
I pray that one day we will see the number of the redeemed eclipse the enormous numbers that must have followed both of the past systems. I do not know if that will happen or even if these ruins will survive into the “new earth” and the “new heavens” when heaven and earth will be one and truly God’s will finally is done “on earth as in heaven.” Will we even want to be reminded of the past? Or will that past only magnify the contrast between God’s ways and ours?
Larry DeVilbiss | Executive Director
Global Recordings Network USA
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