Today is a guest post from Ron Steiginga. Enjoy!
Yesterday we travelled from israel to Turkey. In my mind it did not seem like it would be a big deal since we had taken two flights and over 14 hours to get here last week. Wrong! Our trip started out in TelAviv at Ben Gurion Airport where we went through extensive security checks which definitively reinforce the fact that the Israelis really need to take security seriously. After changed gates, overbooked flights, flight transfers and a long bus ride we finally arrived in Kusadasi, Turkey, where we gobbled a quick meal and were off to bed. Alarm at 5:45 am and up and on the bus before 7 am.
We bussed 2 hours to Sardis which is an archeological site significant to us since it is one of the New Testament cities referred to as one of the 7 cities of Revelations. (Look it up.). Like most of the sites we have been to so far , these places are much much older than the era in which the New Testament was written, so it’s a challenge on some sites for us (some of us) to absorb the sheer amount of history that is literally buried in layers on top of each other.
One of the key learnings of the day was the way the apostle Paul used the historical context of the seven cities when he addressed them in his letters. Each letter uses specific historical and geographic references to actual earthquakes which they had experienced in that time. This was so evident in Sardis where thousands of years of man-made glory was wiped out in a single earthquake.
We also visited the Temple of Artemis which you will have to google yourself to see how horrible and pagan this place was. This was a low moment for us as we heard and sat in and envisioned the pagan rituals and demonic forces that were celebrated in this massive temple. Making it more difficult was the realization that many of our current society’s pitfalls and priorities are similar in so many ways.
A symbol of hope was there too though with the miracle of a small church that was situated so close to the corner of the temple that was an obvious metaphor for the purpose of the church – us- each one of us – to be light and bring the love of the one true God and King to a world that so desperately needs it. Shalom into chaos.
We then proceeded to hike straight up the mountain to the ruins of the Acropolis where portions of ruined buildings dangled impossibly 2400 feet in the air.
Lori and I are seeing so much and have to absorb so much information that we have mixed feelings of being overwhelmed, ashamed, convicted, exhausted, constipated (Lori asked me to delete that one) but most of all awed at what God has done through history through His Kingdom Priests, those who live in obedience to Him and put Him on display in everything they do to declare that OUR GOD REIGNS to the brokenness and chaos around us.
The picture shows us at the temple of Artemis and the mountain in the background is what we climbed to the Acropolis of Sardis.