First, stood is an odd looking, sounding word. Just saying.
I haven’t blogged in a bit mostly because I took a trip to Turkey during our college’s spring break. You can have Florida. I’ll take a spring break in Turkey any day.
I have a lot to say about my trip, especially the things I learned about Islam in Turkey. But just a brief reflection today on what an amazing thing it is to stand in places so historically important to the Christian faith.
I’m not the curious type, at least not about this stuff. I’ve had the good fortune to travel places like Italy, Germany, Belize, Brazil, Uganda, Singapore, and now Turkey. On none of these trips did I get online to do a little pre-trip reading. Never bought a travel guide book to anticipate what I might soon experience. That would require way too much effort and planning.
So, I’ve often been surprised at how overwhelmed I am at the things I see. Before this trip, this was particularly true of Italy. The walled cities of Tuscany with their old churches gripped me. It was profound simply to be touching and seeing that much history. Italy, however, has nothing on Turkey. In fact, to the contrary, Turkey far exceeded the experience in Italy for me.
Istanbul (not Constantinople), Ephesus and Cappadocia simply blew me away. My son told me today how jealous he was that I stood in the streets of Ephesus, the very place where the riot occurred as recorded in Acts 19. He should be jealous. It was very moving to stand where Paul had once stood.
But I was more blown away by Cappadocia. To move in the underground caves where Christians once lived to avoid persecution; to see the caves in which the desert fathers and their monastic communities lived and worshipped; to stand in the region that produced Basil, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus (not his other brother, Gregory). Unbelievable.
In recent years, Eastern theology has become more important to me. And what you make of the Cappadocians is pretty important in all of that. They changed the game in terms of how we think of God as Triune in ways that have profoundly influenced our imaginations about God.
So, today, in addition to getting over jet lag, I am thankful for the opportunity to put my feet where others have stood.