The opening cut into the bedrock at the base of the second pyramid at Giza was barely a meter high by a meter wide. I got down low and proceeded in, down the 30 degree slope, doing a near duck walk for about 30 yards. At the bottom it leveled out and the ceiling opened enough that I could walk upright as long as I kept my head bowed, looking to the floor. After about another 60 yards it was back to a sloped passageway heading up, a mirror image of the first. After thirty yards I stood up and stepped into a room about the shape of a Monopoly hotel piece, rectangular, 45 feet by 15 feet, about 45 feet high at the peak. The room is the burial tomb of Pharaoh Khafre, son of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid. The room is empty with the exception of a large stone coffin at one end. It once contained the mummified remains of the pharoah. It is hot, and humid inside and smells of too many tourists and too little ventilation. It is a tomb and though empty, still feels and smells of death, and a certain amount of futility at the efforts of humans to insure their immortality.
Sadly I am not the only explorer in the tomb. About a dozen others are here, having also paid their five dollars for the chance to glimpse into the past. As I gaze around the tomb I am in the midst of an historians dream, being in a place built 5,000 years ago. I am living large indeed. Suddenly my sense of awe is invaded by the sight of four women. They are obviously American or European. They have begun some sort of spiritual exercise in the middle of the tomb. They stand facing the empty coffin, bringing their arms to their front and slowly raising them together above their hands, deep breath, slow exhale, arms sweep wide and come to rest in front, almost in a position of prayer. Another deep breath, exhale, and the whole process is repeated again, and again, several more times before I finally leave the tomb shaking my head. I begin my duck walk out.
As I make my way out I am struck by the sadness of it all. Khafre built the Pyramid as a way to insure his eternal life. But tomb robbers eventually removed all that was placed within it in order to make such a life possible. His mummy is believed to be at the bottom of the sea off the coast of Spain, sunk 100 years ago on it’s way to the British Museum. Even more sadly I am struck by how lost those four women were, looking for spiritual power and energy in the middle pyramid. There are people who believe that a pyramid by it’s very shape has some ability to grant life giving energy. Yet it did nothing for Khafre. These women were doing nothing more than getting in some stretching exercise inside a smelly grave.
The irony is that just a good days drive away by car and they could have entered another tomb. This one belonged to Jesus, but only for a few days. It is empty now, not because of grave robbers and archeologists, but because of true life giving power from God our Father. He caused Jesus to be vindicated, risen from the grave and take victory over death. We have no need to visit His tomb in order to access that blessing and spiritual power. We need only give Him our lives and trust in Him to raise us from the grave when the time comes.
Many people say that it’s just to hard to believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead. It is too hard to believe in a God who can do such things, who loves us enough to send His only Son for us. They find it to hard to believe in grace and forgiveness. Yet they can believe that the shape of a pyramid and doing meditative exercises in a tomb can somehow bring you life and enlightenment. How sad and how lost we often are, even in a pyramid with only one way in and one way out.