by: Laura S. Conrad
This past June a group of disciples from Fort Hill Church walked in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. We traveled from Athens to Corinth, Delphi, the Greek Orthodox monasteries of Meteora, Berea, Philippi, Thessalonica, and onto the island of Crete where Paul’s ship wrecked. Our journey mostly included Paul’s second missionary journey.
The weeks leading up to the trip we devoted ourselves to studying about Paul’s life, building relationships, and preparing ourselves for the pilgrimage. We studied The Life of the Paul for Today by Vander Broek (Westminster John Knox). We asked the pilgrims what they hoped to have happen on this journey. Some were looking to build the bonds of Christian fellowship. Others were hungry for spiritual renewal. And even one said, “I want to be able to like Paul.”
One of the most special experiences for me as a pastor was to see the group practice the words of the Letter to the church at Corinth about sharing gifts in the body of Christ, and the epitome of that practicing the love Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13. When a couple’s grandson was placed in ICU in Greenville, we were able to lay hands on them and pray over them. Our motor coach became our little chapel. Another day we asked several to share where they had seen God in a special way as we traveled for many hours. The motor coach became our tabernacle on wheels!
Some of the highlights include standing on Mar’s Hill where Paul preached to the Athenians pictured here. And also we shared Sunday communion at the Bema of Berea where Paul was placed on trial. The following day, we reaffirmed our Baptism at the river where Lydia, the first convert in Europe, was baptized by Paul. Additionally, we learned about the Greek Orthodox Church tradition and enjoyed local culture, music, food. On our final night, our Tour Director, Theodore, was properly gifted with a Tiger paw pin and a Clemson t-shirt.
What a gift to see God’s word come to life and to live in the fellowship of the Body of Christ Paul teaches us about in a special way. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. Thanks be to God!
-Laura serves as Pastor at Fort Hill Presbyterian, Clemson SC.