Jacquie’s taking a turn today. Enjoy!
Suitcases were loaded back under the bus for travel to a new area. Today our travels took us to three cities, 2 more of the seven cities John writes to in Revelations and one additional city not mentioned in scripture but important to the context…Thyatira, Philadelphia and Aphrodias. Again we suited up to get wet – the first time RVL has encountered rain in his trips to Turkey in October. We are thankful with the people here who need it and pray each day for God to give us the “feet to walk the path He gives us” no matter the weather or obstacles.
Our first and second stops were Thyatira and Philadelphia. In both cases, not much has been excavated and the ruins are in among the modern city – giving us a rare chance to walk regular city streets and interact a bit with the locals. In both, RVL led us through John’s letters to these churches and we are beginning to jump up and down with him to see ALL the clear links to the cultural context of each city to make the letter so personally applicable here first – before all the other applications we draw from it today. I won’t steal Kevin’s thunder for an upcoming series on Revelations that is shouting to be shared, so I’ll leave it at that. Again and again we are seeing the tapestry or puzzle pieces come together as John and Paul speak Text into their context. I’m so very convicted again to learn and know the Text better myself, particularly how the OT and NT are so interwoven.
Outside Philadelphia, it was a treat to reflect Jesus to some local kids who walked up the trail with us, curious about what we were doing in their back field. One young boy, about the age of my students, proudly showed us his notebook filled with Turkish and English phrases from his lessons at school. I took a photo of his amazing penmanship – my own Gr4s will have a great Turkish exemplar to refer to! After we’d handed out a fair share of gum and treats from our packs, we left for Aphrodias.
Aphrodias was the sculpting capital of the Greek and Roman world and the sculptures were the language of their day, sharing the worldview of their culture. It was incredible to see what has been found under the ground in the past 60 years of excavation here! We closed our day at the hippodrome/stadium where we unpacked Revelations 1-13 as a direct parallel to the seven parts of the Olympic Games from their inception. It was a powerful reminder that WE are God’s Olympians and that every facet of our lives is an opportunity to give our best to Him…to Pursue Excellence for His Glory, our theme at school this year! I can’t wait to unpack that more fully with my students.
We ended by running a lap and cheering each other on as a “cloud of witnesses” (picture below after we finished) – a truly moving way to put our commitment into action and make this yet one more memorable place where the Text has come alive in a new way!!