Minne – “snow” – ta … I mean Minnesota often imprisons us in our abodes while she has her fun and joy covering our streets with ice and entertains Jack Frost as her guest. For the homeschooler, these long, cold “snowed-in” months can cause a mother to grasp desperately for innovative forms of indoor entertainment that don’t require a trip to the History Museum.
One thing I absolutly love about Heirloom Audio’s productions is that they can be used strictly for entertainment, they can be supplemental to a lifeless histroy lesson, or they can be a springboard for a unit study all on their own. This reality couldn’t be more true for our family as we reviewed and entertained our own guests right in our living room this last winter storm. We welcomed Josephus, John of Galama, Jonas, Mary and all their acquaintances from Heirloom’s newest audio drama, For the Temple inside our warm abode for a bag of popcorn and a mug of hot cocoa.
Dad came home with snacks, mobs of anxious kids were spinning around the room, and every throw blanket we owned was being violently ripped out of the ottoman as we settled down for our weekly Friday Night Family Time. Only tonight, the television wasn’t the main event. Our large bluetooth speaker was propped on top of the piano, the lights were dimmed and the adventure began!
Plot and Story Line
Mr. George, on his visit to Vienna, is sitting in a cafe writing a letter to a dear friend of his when a young man named Peter abruptly crashes into his world. Peter is invited to sit down and the stranger’s conversation progresses to the architecture that inspires the locals and deepens to the tale of one of the most cherished works of architechture in the world… the Temple in Jerusalem.
We are suddenly transported back to 67 A.D. when Nero was Emperor and recruited Vespasian and his son Titus to conquer the tumultuous region of Palestine. We gather from the story line that this period in time was full of unrest, discord, and confusion; every man for himself. Groups of rebels ran to and fro fighting whoever came in their way, including each other!
With our antagonist already introduced, John and Mary take scene. These young souls contently employ the simple farm life and their legacies were seemingly predestined; that is until John, through a series of events, was faced with the reality that unavoidable conflict his countrymen faced threatened to take him and all that he loved down into a pile of dust and rubble. Recognizing what he needed to do, he took up the calling of becoming a man of war which opposed everything he knew and everything he wanted in life. Little did he know that his choice of sacrifice and loyalty to his people, to his God, and to his temple, would be the very decision that secured his peace and freedom for the future.
“THE TIME IS COMING WHEN EVERY JEW WHO CAN BEAR ARMS WILL BE NEEDED IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY”
“I hope this is not so.”
“YOUR HOPES CANNOT STOP IT”
We follow John through his unpredictable pilgrimage meeting a series of historical figures including Josephus, as well as men who are strong in character and virtue such as Jonas, the faithful friend and saving grace of John. We meet betrayers such as the men of Tiberius lead by Jael who tries to appease King Agrippa by pledging allegiance to the Romans while at the same time Jospehus, and villains such as Eliezer who was caught stealing from the very people he was called to protect right within the walls of the Holy City!
By the sovereign hand of Yahweh, John encounters a follower of Jesus Christ, Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. This brief encounter plants seeds of salvation that take root in his heart and lead him back to the sower at another point in this story. The listeners get to trace the heritage of this sower even further and eavesdrop on the gospel news being shared from John’s lip to Titus himself. History itself reflects the change in the Roman’s heart from his experience with this Jewish believer.
The epic story comes to a close with a beautiful threads of reconciliation and restoration being pulled through that point to the importance of individual relationships, loving your enemies, and pleasing God in everything that man can do even in the midst the gore and the terrifying grips that war inflicts. This doesn’t happen until one last unfortunate twist occurs though… (I won’t spoil the wonderfully graceful conclusion 😉 ).
Study Guide/ Discussions We Had
“In fact, we feel that God requires us to truly go the extra mile and take our audio dramas to a new level of excellence. Our mission, simply stated… is to engage our listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in the story.”
As Mr. George says at the production’s commencement:
“I love to look back at history at the stories of days gone by and see what they can tell us for today.”
And at it’s conclusion Peter, in reflection, remarked,
“There are some things worth fighting for…History can certainly challenge us to take a look at what we believe.”
Got high expectations?!?
Because Heirloom Audio meets those expectations with their accompanying study guide!
The study guide available to be used along side For the Temple exceeds one’s expectations, just as all of Heirloom Audio’s products do. Here is a very small list of some of the study topics one can expect:
Words to Define
Comprehension Questions for Every Track
(What did John tell his men to do?)
(Find Palestine on the map)
Biography Questions, Challenges or Information Sections of Characters Mentioned
(Josephus – Vespasian – Family Trees – “ben Reuben” meaning ect)
Reflections of Quotes That Arose From The Story
(Phineas tells John, “you gave us hope.” What sort of hope does he mean?)
(What did his response tell us about his character? Will this friendship endure?)
Biblical Topics and Scriptures to Search
(What does the Bible say about marriage and love?)
(Food in Ancient Israel, Shabbat)
Famous Artwork from Time Period
(How would you feel if you climbed back into the city and saw destruction?)
This study guide is INCREDIBLE! I picture it being used as a unit study in our homeschool setting. I am imagining taking it on as a summer time project listening intently to one track a week and diving headlong into all the activities and areas of study and interest.
We had some deep and real conversations with our kids while listening to this as a family. The most uncomfortable track to listen to was “The Cruel Face of War” where the scene is set in Jerusalem during the siege and the men are faced with the choice to share the last of their food they have stored up with the starving, innocent citizens who are screaming and begging in the streets, or keep the remaining sustenance for themselves to stay strong to fight. We discussed why the men chose what they did.
We talked about how the Jewish men at that time didn’t educate women or children and why that was. This led to a longer discussion about the differences between a relationship with God and a religion.
We talked a whole lot about the importance of standing up for what is right and how there really are some things worth fighting for. Everything we enjoy today was fought for by someone before us.
We discussed how unity can make a nation, or a home, or a family strong; likewise, contentions and self-seeking can cause it to be unstable and ultimately crumble.
Stirring up purpose,
building pure character,
imparting victorious legacies,
introducing heroines of the faith,
creating and cultivating roots in my family’s hearts,
developing deep discussions and meaningful, trust educing conversations…
I would say this was a family day well spent, a product well made, and a story well told!
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For The Temple