Monday, June 12, 2017

Athens - What a Glorious Busy Full Day

Our tour of this amazing city began with a trip to the foot of the Acropolis. It is there that one finds the place where theater was born at the Theater of Dionysus. We visited the ancient hospital, took in the magnificent views of the tomb of Philopappos, and peered into Herodeon. We then hiked to the top of the Acropolis passing by the magnificent Temple of Nike, walking through the beautiful grand gate, and finding ourselves standing before the overwhelming Parthenon. There are no words to describe how incredible all of this was for each of us. We spent time walking atop this ancient holy hill taking in the views and the splendor. Before making our way down we stopped for a quick view of the Erechtheion (the Temple of Poseidon).

At the base of the Acropolis is Mars Hill (the Areopagus) where Paul famously spoke to the learned men of Athens. This speech is recorded in Acts 17. It is there that he made his appeal to these very religious people by speaking of their statues and their literature. We spent some time atop this bald limestone rock and then at its base discussing the significance of this place for Paul, for the ancient Christians, and for us. We have much to learn from Paul's words and his methods.

We then made our way to the ancient agora. This is the marketplace and the civic and religious center of the city. So much history is packed into this important plot of land. This is where democracy was born and where it was practiced for centuries. The agora contains many important sites and so much important history. The feet of the fathers of modern thought walked these marble walkways. This is where they discussed philosophy, war, religion, law, and ethics. The beautiful Temple of Hephaestus is also located here.

After a lovely lunch of pastistio, we toured the New Acropolis Museum. It is one of the most magnificent museums in the world. It traces the Greek culture from prehistory through the building of the Parthenon. So many famous piece are housed in this museum. Many of the floors are made out of glass so that you can see the active archeological dig taking place directly beneath the museum. The Calf Bearer and the beautiful Caryatids from the Erechtheion can be found here.

Tonight we will sleep well after our small group dinners.

Thank you for your prayers.

Today, we were present.

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