I had heard the stories about the travels of Paul growing up but until I actually saw the places he traveled to, often repeatedly, how unforgiving the terrain is, I did not truly apprehend the fire that was in his soul.
Let's just say this: I have seen many wonders.
Yesterday it was Rhodes and Lindos, where I felt I was following in the very footsteps of St. Paul. Today it was Corinth and Athens. Again Paul made his mark. But much more than that, really. His indefatigable preaching and evangelizing almost singlehandedly transformed the world and changed the course of history.
We visited the ancient ruins of the marketplace at Corinth, which was a major commercial center in antiquity. It was in this very venue that Paul addressed the Greeks after he was banned from speaking at the Jewish temple. We forget sometimes that Paul traveled to these lands to seek out ancient Jewish communities before preaching to the wider masses. His father was a rabbi, and though Paul supported his ministry by working as a tent-maker, preaching was surely in his blood.
For a man to set off to foreign and generally hostile lands and preach a strange story of resurrection and redemption took incredible faith, courage and fortitude. I had heard the stories about the travels of Paul growing up but until I actually saw the places he traveled to, often repeatedly, how unforgiving the terrain is, how unlikely his message would be heard, I did not truly apprehend the fire that was in his soul.
And he stood before some of the most awe-inspiring religious architecture ever conceived by man, the temples of the Greeks to their numerous gods. To stand upon the Acropolis of Athens, before the Parthenon and the other great temples of Athena, whom the Greeks believed had favored them so greatly, to stand before these perfect and magnificent edifices and tell a completely different story about man's relationship to God must not have only taken immense bravery but divine imagination.
I would love to tell you more but we are moving out to sea now and I will soon lose my signal. I'll check back from Israel, our next stop on this amazing Guideposts journey.