There can be as many actors as there are ‘artefacts’ (up to eight), or a smaller group can take turns as Professors.
Professor 1: Hello, and welcome to our lecture: ‘Items from history’. We will present to you items from different eras in history, starting with the most recent, to give you a sense of how the world has developed. We have many historic artefacts for you to view, so we hope you will find it interesting as well as educational. Over to my colleague, who will start things off with our first item. Professor?
Professor 2: (project on a screen if possible) Good morning. I am so excited to be able to present to you the first ever TikTok video. It was made in 2017, that’s four whole years ago. It features a cute kitten falling off a sofa to the soundtrack of an Ed Sheeran song.
Professor 3: (show a physical iPad) What I hold in my hands here is an ‘iPad’. First launched a whole decade ago in 2010, they revolutionised the way people used computers, allowing them to watch videos, play games, take photos, surf the internet, write and send emails from the comfort of their sofa.
Professor 4: (show a photo of one) This is one of the first colour televisions. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1970, before many of us were even born. Although it might look like a television you could have in your home today – notice how much chunkier and heavier it is. You also had no ability to pause, rewind or record programmes yourself and, most shockingly of all – there were only three channels! How did people cope, you might indeed wonder.
Professor 5: (show a photo of the genuine fragment) Going back even further, this small fragment of papyrus from 2,000 years ago was part of a scroll containing the Gospel of John. The papyrus plant was treated to make a flat surface that would hold ink. Unfortunately, although biodegradable and very ecologically sound, you can see that only this tiny amount has survived today.
Professor 1: Now we appreciate that casting your mind back 50 years is a stretch, let alone 2,000 years. But our artefacts go even further back than that.
Professor 6: (show a photo of them) These are Acheulean stone axes from about 1.5 million years ago.
Professor 7: (show a photo of them) These are tools unearthed from Lomekwi in Kenya which archaeologists have dated as being 3.3 million years old.
Professor 8: (show a photo of them) And these are zircon crystals, part of the formation of the earth’s crust itself, the oldest such minerals that scientists have analysed to date – found in the Jack Hills of Western Australia. Scientists say these are at least 4.4 billion years old. This is the closest we can get to something eternal.
Professor 1: And no one in this room is as old as that! Except…
The others turn to look at Professor 1.
Professor 1: This is Celia. (points to a person – real or imagined – beside them) The Bible tells us that, as a Christian, she is filled with God’s Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit was present at the creation of all things. In fact, God has always existed, before anything else at all.
Older than apps and the iPad, earlier than TV, papyrus scrolls, stone axes and ancient tools, zircon crystals, or anything that we can physically see.
God is eternal, and so – as someone filled with God’s Spirit – is Celia. She will be the longest-lasting thing in this room. Now that’s eternal!