Our next cruise was only a part of an overall travel adventure and the entire trip deserves to be told.
In May 2015, Liz and I joined a group of folks (mostly from Belin Memorial United Methodist Church) going to Greece & Turkey on a “Footsteps of Paul” tour. This included a short cruise going to Ephesus and several Greek islands. The trip was led by our pastor and friend Mike Alexander. This is the first of several posts describing this wonderful trip.
We began our trip at the airport in Myrtle Beach, SC. From there we flew to Philadelphia, PA and transferred to a flight bound for Athens, Greece.
After an 11 hour flight to Athens, we got off the plane only to grab our bags, go through customs and stow our bags on a bus headed for Thessaloniki. We would see our bags again later that evening. We, however, boarded another plane and flew to Thessaloniki where we boarded a tour bus and began the journey to Veria (Berea of the New Testament).
Berea is where Paul and Silas were sent by friends after being accused of treason in Thessalonika. There is very little left of the ancient town of Berea although modern Beria is a thriving city on the same spot. However, we know Paul visited and we know he preached the Gospel to the local community and we know the Bereans were particularly receptive (Acts 17:10-14).
There is a relatively recent monument to Paul’s ministry there, and the iconography is accessible even to people unaccustomed to interpreting it. The central component is a full-scale icon of the apostle Paul standing above a set of ancient steps discovered somewhere in the vicinity of Berea. A separate panel to the left depicts Paul’s vision summoning him to Macedonia, complete with the Greek quotation, “Come to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:6-10). Another panel on the right depicts Paul preaching and the Bereans studying scripture.
After a short stop in Beria, we were back on the road where our final destination for the day would be Thessaloniki, ancient Thessalonica.