Friday and Saturday of the Briarwood Retreat Center/Briarwood Leadership Center leadership journey “Paul and Beyond” took us to some fascinating and stunningly beautiful sites in central Greece. Friday we visited the remote monasteries of Meteora. Built high on remote cliffs in the time after the fall of Constantinople they were refuges that kept alive the liturgy and traditions of the Greek Orthodox church.
We remarked on the presence of the symbols of both martyrdom and the nostalgia of Byzantium in the artwork. These monasteries both lamented the loss of privilege and security provided by the state while also witnessing to the true security of faith in Christ and the solace of community. We wondered about how Paul might have recognized these communities versus the power and privilege of Constantinople.
Friday night we enjoyed the small town of Delphi and then Saturday we toured the museum and ancient ruins. The museum helpfully traced the development of art and culture in Delphi over a millennium. It was interesting for our group to reflect on how the cult of the oracle at Delphi reflects much of our popular Christian culture. God becomes an answer machine to our problems rather than the Crucified God Paul proclaimed and as we will see tomorrow on mars hill.
Our travels east took us through the “San Moritz” of Greece in Arachova. This town, located at the bottom of ski resorts, is in full pre-lent carnival swing. Our travels delayed by a giant panda walking down the street. More experiences of local culture.
We arrived in Athens in time for a city tour and then the acropolis museum. This stunning museum is 10 years old and awaits the return of the “Elgin marbles” from the British museum. More on that tomorrow. #NTNL #BWTX #InMissionTogether