Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Continuing through Turkey, Aspendos Theatre and Perga

On Sunday March 8 we docked at Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey and the capital of the province. It's a blend of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures and architecture. This area corresponds to the Biblical lands of ancient Pamphylia to the east and Lycia to the west. Here we boarded our buses and drove to the Aspendos Theatre, where we enjoyed an actor performing as Paul, and the beautiful ruins of Perga.

The Book of Acts in the New Testament really comes alive after a visit to Turkey.
13Then Paul and his men set sail from Paphos and arrived in Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They left Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue leaders asked them, “Brothers, if you have any message of encouragement for the people, you may speak.”

16Then Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen! 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made them a great people during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with a public display of power he led them out of there. 18After he had put up with them for 40 years in the wilderness, 19he destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan. Then God gave their land to the Israelites as an inheritance 20for about 450 years.

“After that, he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21When they demanded a king, God gave them Kish’s son Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, for 40 years. 22Then God removed Saul and made David their king, about whom he testified, ‘I have found that David, the son of Jesse, is a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23It was from this man's descendants that God, as he promised, brought to Israel a Savior, who is Jesus. 24Before Jesus’ appearance, John had already preached a baptism of repentance to all the people in Israel. 25When John was finishing his work, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the Messiah. No, but he is coming after me, and I am not worthy to untie the sandals on his feet.’

26“My brothers, descendants of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, it is to us[l] that the message of this salvation has been sent. 27For the people who live in Jerusalem and their leaders, not knowing who Jesus[m] was, condemned him and so fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28Although they found no reason to sentence him to death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29When they had finished doing everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and for many days he appeared to those who had come with him to Jerusalem from Galilee. These are now his witnesses to the people. 32We are telling you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33he has fulfilled for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.’ 34God raised him from the dead, never to experience decay, as he said, ‘I will give you the holy promises made to David.’ 35In another Psalm he says, ‘You will not let your Holy One experience decay.’ 36For David, after he had served God's purpose in his own generation, died and was buried with his ancestors, and so he experienced decay. 37However, the man whom God raised did not experience decay.

Aspendos on the river Eurymedon could be reached by ship and is famous for its theater with magnificent accoustics.

The actor who played Paul performed monologues based on his writings at various places along our tour.

Perga was apparently on the sea in ancient times, but is now inland. It had been under control of the Persians, then Alexander, then later Rome. Artemis was an important goddess (Pergaia) there appearing on coins. Paul journeyed to Perga from Cyprus continuing on to Antioch, returning later. During the reign of Constantine, Perga became an important center of Christianity.

Although I don't have a photo of her, that's our Muslim guide, Tuba, with the white umbrella. She was outstanding--excellent English and great sensitivity for our faith and always holding to the Biblical text for her script.

Perga has been under excavation by Turkish archaelogists since 1946--at least I think that's where this was taken. Hmm--almost as long as me.

1 comment:

Hokule'a Kealoha said...

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