Right now I am imagining all of you remembering and resonating with what you did, saw, and heard in worship this morning. We probably were worshiping simultaneously as we ended our day with an intimate service at our hotel: we greeted each other with ancient words the Ephesian believers could well have used, we sang a capella hymns, and we heard Jeff read and expound upon the message to the Ephesian church from Revelation 2. So cool to think that even though we are worlds apart, we were engaged with the same meaningful practices at the same time.
Ephesus filled our day — we began our visit to the ruins of the ancient city (There is no contemporary city with this name; the nearest present-day city is Selcuk.) with this look down the main street. We had just entered one city gate and could actually see the exit gate far down the road. Shortly after this photo was taken, many, many more folks arrived and the streets were literally filled with people, much as we imagine they were in the First Century A.D. when Paul lived there.
On our way down the city’s main artery, we saw sights now familiar to us like columns, porticos, government buildings, and latrines (There were almost 40 individual seats in the Ephesus model seen here!): as well as new things including the Ephesus Library and a rather fetching Nike carving:
Ephesus, being built between two prominent hills, had slopes to deal with all over town; terrace housing, a building style in which individual rooms and neighboring homes were terraced one on top of the other, was one solution. Some of these homes were downright palatial, decorated with wall-paper style painted walls and floor mosaics. The sight for which Ephesus is probably most well-known, however, is its theater, able to seat 22,000+ folks, noted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the place where a riot almost occurred as recorded in Acts 19. Hannah, one of Calvin’s seminary students, spoke to us about these events while we sat in the very seats some of the folks spoken of in the passage probably used — sort of brings the whole thing to life in a fresh way. [Jan is at the bottom of the stairs that begin in the center of the photo : ) ]
We were served an afternoon lunch at Selcuk’s Carpetorium, a government-run school where the art of Turkish carpet weaving is taught to willing women. Turkish carpets are very finely woven and can take from three months to a year to complete. We watched both wool and silk carpets being woven, then viewed many of the finished products in various colors and sizes. As part of the demonstration, we were encouraged to test the carpets ourselves: We returned to our Aegean Sea-side hotel in Kusadasi in time to catch the late afternoon sun on the harbor, a lovely end to a lovely day.