One of the things I wish I would’ve done after the Israel trip was to capture the questions I found myself resonating with while on the trip… because I forgot them a lot quicker than I imagined I would.
For this trip, I found myself thinking about these questions while on the trip and still in the week or so after. Hopefully, these are things that I will still be thinking about in years to come.
I am I worshipping like a 1st c. Roman, or a 1st c. Christian?
A 1st c. Roman worships for their own benefit, treating their god as something to serve them and give some semblance of control. A 1st c. Christian worships God, not for themselves, but with the body of believers at the forefront of their mind and cling to the resurrection of Christ as their only hope. A 1st c. Christian is far more concerned about their holiness than about their safety. Do I treat God as sovereign, or just as an idol that serves me?
When I am tired, weary and in need of escape who/what has the most sway in my life?
The theater was a place where the Romans were entertained and escaped from their busy and difficult lives. At the core, that’s what entertainment is: an escape. It was there that many political and social ideas were slyly and deceptively introduced into the culture. This hasn’t changed a bit. The people who call the shots in entertainment are the ones telling us what is “normal” and “socially acceptable.” Entertainment itself isn’t evil, nor is an escape, but am I being aware of what messages are being fed to me? Its fascinating that at nearly every site we visited, there were MASSIVE theaters that still stand strong today. Most every other ruin was in pieces, leaving much to the imagination, but the theaters… many of them still function today.
Am I loving the believers around me in a way that causes the world to take notice?
We see this throughout the 1st c. church. The church in Ephesus is criticized for failing to love each other well, even though their doctrine is watertight. In Colossae we’re reminded of the story of Philemon, a slave who wronged his master, but was called brother only because of the gospel. The Christian sub-culture transcended the Roman way of life and circumvented the need to give into their culture. This gives a whole new perspective to how the church functions as a body and each part is necessary. In order to survive, they had to depend on one another. It’s not socialism, it’s family. Rather than just forgiving or tolerating others, am I loving the church like a family?