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Tiny Midges Cause Lincoln Memorial Deterioration

In the late 1980s, the National Park Service noticed that the Lincoln Memorial was slowly crumbling and deteriorating. Why? Part of the problem was from water, both rainwater and cleaning water: Park Service crews were giving "the great marble statue of Abraham Lincoln and adjacent walls and floors a daily scrubbing," according to the Associated Press. But why where they cleaning the Lincoln Memorial so often?

Because of the huge mess left each day by sparrows and starlings. But why were so many sparrows and starlings attracted to the Lincoln Memorial? Because they were drawn by spiders. But why were so many spiders making their home in the Lincoln Memorial?

Because of midges, "small winged insects that breed in the muddy flats of the nearby Potomac River." Midges swarm into the air at dusk for mating, and when they did, they were drawn by the huge lights illuminating the memorial. The midges would smash into the limestone walls, and their protein remains drew the spiders, which drew the sparrows and starlings, which caused the mess, which caused the Park Service crews to clean every day, which brought extra water, which caused erosion.

Why was the Lincoln Memorial eroding? Because of the tiny midge. But you wouldn't find that out until you asked "Why?" four times.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Bible Study; Wisdom—You could use this story to illustrate the need to dig into the biblical text, asking questions first. (2) Sin; Confession—You could also use this story to illustrate the destructive power of sin and temptation. By allowing "small" sins and temptations (the "midges" of our lives) in our heart, we create the context for spiritual erosion. (3) Communication; Understanding; Misunderstanding—It also shows the need to ask good questions before we think we understand someone or someone's point of view.

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