Today is the anniversary of the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD which destroyed the Roman City of Pompeii. It was one of the worst natural disasters in the ancient world.
Ongoing archaeological excavations in Pompeii have uncovered fragments of a document (in Latin) from an early Christian Church in Pompeii. Though to be the final prayer of the “First Century First Evangelical Pentecostal Holier than Thou Methodist Church of Pompeii”, it is translated from the Latin and published here in English for the first time:
We just want to thank you for finally hearing our prayer and causing this volcano to erupt. We have been praying for years than you would burp from the Earth below to smite the sexual immorality and pagan religious practices surrounding us. It is so good to know you’ve actually heard our prayers. We are grateful that you are about to rain fire, death, and brimstone on the evil fornicators, idol worshipers, and Caesar lovers who are our neighbors. Thank you for finally hearing our calls for death and destruction. Perhaps now, we can get back to being the disciples you called us to be; those with love, unity, and peace in our hearts.
At this point, the prayer breaks off. The manuscript notes that, “a certain Gaius Marcus Vitleus raised his hand to tell the pastor that the church was seconds away from being destroyed by flaming ash and lava.”
Thus ended the final prayer of the “First Century First Evangelical Pentecostal Holier than Thou Methodist Church of Pompeii” and their early Christian community. It’s amazing how far we’ve as Christians. I doubt anything like that would happen today.