Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Ye Men of Athens..."

As you can see, we have arrived!! And so has Samuel Gabriel Fernandes, my sister's second son, born yesterday...safely, and without complications.  He needed no extra care, just testing.  We have much to be thankful for.
Thank the Lord for His graciousness.  Our trip to the Aegean was seamless, serene and safe...although we had little sleep.  There was a superb sunrise that greeted us in the splendid shade of fuschia.  We had a tumultuous descent into could see the effect of the wind on the waves below.  It was sunny, but cool, and we admired the mountains surrounding us.  At the base of them, in every direction, were a multitude of sand colored concrete block homes with red tile roofs, clustered like sheep.
We arrived at the Cristal and settled into our stateroom (M&O loved the bunks), had dinner,and turned in for the night after a brief orientation.  All of us were experiencing "jetlag".
At 6am, we awoke reluctantly with a wakeup call, and after breakfast, headed out for our Corinth/Athens tour.  I felt clausrophobic as we drove through the narrow and congested streets in Athens...highrises closed in around us and the traffic beat Chicago's rush hour.  We traveled for 2 1/2 hours before we reached the ancient ruins of Corinth.
The most striking structure was the remains of the temple of Apollo...7 columns silhouetted against the sky. Nearby was the rectangular agora or marketplace area where Paul would have argued the gospel.  Remains of columns, statues, capitals and arches were scattered like loose Legos on the grounds.  Corinth was a wealthy city, due to commerce, including slaves and prostitution, which lead to immorality.  This is why Paul talked about the body being God's temple (I Cor 3) and running the race with self control (I Cor 9)
As we headed back to Athens, we could see the Acropolis in the distance, rising 230 ft on an enormous rugged rock, surrounded by the thousands of closely clustered homes of the modern city below. To one side, we could see the sparkling Aegean.  I thought of our lives as Christians being like a "city on a hill" to be seen by mankind, and wondered if mine was worthy of emulation.
Our tour bus wound its way up to the Acropolis site (Paul walked up the marble steps), through the crowded streets, and dropped us off at the entrance.  We walked up as a group through the Propylea or ornamental gate, and as the view opened  before us, we saw the famous structure of the Parthenon to our right...partially covered with the scaffolding of its restoration project.  This building was dedicated to the worship of the goddess Athena.  From the gate, we could see below us the large rock formation of Mar's Hill, where Paul preached to the Areopagus. As he spoke, he could have seen below him, the agora of Athens, with a temple to the left side dedicated to the god of used to create the idols they worshipped.  Paul, in Acts 17, speaks to the Athenians of the altar to the "Unknown God"...declaring the Creator God of the Universe to them, who did not "dwell in temples made by hand"...what a picture that would have been, as the two temples were before them...the source of their idol worship.

Dan& Vicki Del Boccio and Family

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel