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In search of the wonder of wonders

The “New Seven Wonders of the World” were announced in 2007. More than 100 million people voted online and chose these seven: the Great Wall of China; the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janerio, Brazil; Machu Picchu, an Inca city in Peru; Chicken Itza, a Mayan city in Mexico; the Roman Colosseum in Italy; the Taj Majal in India; and Petra, an ancient city in Jordan.

The earliest version of the list was compiled in the 2nd century. Then, during the Middle Ages, another list was selected of the seven most impressive man-made monuments of the ancient world.

The “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” were the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Lighthouse at Alexandria (both in Egypt); the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (near present day Baghdad); the Temple of Artemis, Statue to Zeus, Colossus of Rhodes, and a Mausoleum in Greece.

Next came the “Seven Wonders of the Medieval World,” possibly compiled during the 1800s. The list included Stonehenge in England; the Colosseum in Rome; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing and Great Wall of China; Catacombs in the Egyptian desert and Hagia Sophia, a mosque in Turkey.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has compiled a list of wonders of the modern world. Five of their seven include the English Channel Tunnel between England and Europe; the CN Tower in Toronto; the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal, the Itaipu Dam in Brazil, and the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works.

Reading about these lists made me wonder what “wonders” I would choose. I started thinking about places I’d like to travel to during my lifetime. One of them would be the Holy Land. What if there was a list of the “Seven Wonders of Jesus’ World?” My list would begin with Bethlehem and include Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane, a hill called Calvary, the Garden Tomb, and the Mount of Olives.

British journalist G.K. Chesterton once said, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.” The wonder of wonders is not really a place, but a Person.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold that God’s Son would be born and His name would be called “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). “Christ became what we are that he might make us what he is,” Athanasius, a Christian bishop from the fourth century has written.

There’s a Christmas folk hymn that expresses it this way, “ I wonder as I wander out under the sky, How Jesus the Savior did come for to die, For poor on’ry people like you and like I; I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”

Singer and hymn writer George Beverly Shea penned these words, “There’s the wonder of sunset at evening, the wonder as sunrise I see; but the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me.”

 

Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com