Our time in Turkey concluded with a morning in Ephesus and an afternoon in Miletus, continuing our journey through the lands where the early Christians lived, worked, and worshipped. For me, Ephesus was the highlight of today, and one of the sites I was most excited to see for the first time. It really helped us visualize what the major cities of Asia Minor looked like in the first century, due to the 150 years of excavation work that have been done there. At one point, I turned around to take a picture of a public square and found myself wishing there weren't so many tour groups behind us so I could get a clear picture. But then I realized that this busy crossroads would have been full of people day and night, and enjoyed my more realistic bustling shot!
Two other things (among many!) stick out for me from Ephesus. We had some good conversations in the midst of our tour about how the message of Jesus would have challenged some of the hierarchies so evident in the city we walked through, even 2000 years later, and we considered where our own hierarchies need to be challenged by our faith today. As a Bible professor, it was pretty cool to get to teach about the story of Paul and the Ephesian silversmith Demetrius (Acts 19), right there in Ephesus! And finally, it was a privilege to sing Amazing Grace with three talented Belmont students, in the middle of an ancient theater.
The day was capped off by some down time back at our hotel: swimming in the Aegean Sea, relaxing and talking on the beach, and watching the sun set over the water. Next it's on the Greece, the final leg of our adventure!
~ Dr. Amanda Miller