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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ephesus






Read the book of Ephesians, Acts 19 and Revelation 2:1-7
Ephesus is just an amazing experience and the stunning reality is that this is my 3rd visit to this awesome place. We first visited the site 8 years ago when the International Pastors' conference was in Turkey. And we were here a year ago as a stop on the wonderful cruise we took with my parents. See http://jodimullenfondell.blogspot.com/2008/06/ephesus-turkey.html for details related to that trip. Today was fun because having been here twice before we could just enjoy the walk and not have to pay so much careful attention to the commentary or worry about getting the perfect photo. Funny enough, I took 52 pictures anyway! One highlight that we did add, is that this time around Doug and I did go in and visit the terrace houses that are being restored along the main drag. This is where the wealthiest of the wealthy would've lived in Ephesus and let me tell you, you can see why. Marble walls, mosaic floors, soaring pillars and sky high ceilings were hallmarks of these upper crust homes. They also had running water which was almost unheard of. They are far from finished but it was awesome to see the work in progress and to watch as master craftsman painstakingly put the marble pieces back to together again. I suppose over time the entire site will be restored. Perhaps I'll see it again in 40 years and see how the progress has gone!
So Ephesus...where Paul got into loads trouble and was run out of town. Doug and walked through an archway where it is quite likely that Paul also tread. What fun to sit on an old piece of marble and ponder what a bustling little city this was. The giant Library overwhelms when you consider how it was constructed. The detail work is so intricate and beautiful. I love the 4 virtures that sit outside of the structure: Wisdom, Moral Excellence, Insight and Understanding. Widsom figures greatly in the letter to the Ephesians as they are urged aside the wisdom of the world and instead to pursue Godly wisdom.
The Biblical lessons of both the letter to the Ephesians and the verses in Revelation are greatly illuminated by seeing the site where it all unfolded. To think that some Christians might've gathered in the one of those terraced homes for encouragement and prayer is just mind-boggling.
We ended our tour in the theater which is an enormous, acoustically perfect arena. Someone from our group read from the books of Acts and another followed that by singing the Lord's Prayer. It was so moving that I actually shed a tear. It is such a gift to be in the place where the roots of the church that I love and serve took shape. The sense of connectedness that this gives me with Christians who have gone before me and go beside me and those who will come behind me is just awe-inspiring. I am so thankful for this great trip. Mark Wilson, our guide and scholar on this trip has become like a good friend. His knowledge enriches and inspires and I am grateful for his leadership among us.
The day ended with a dash to the airport to catch our flight to Istanbul. We are situated in the center of town. Istanbul is a barrage on the senses. I can't wait to take it all in tomorrow.