This morning - and I mean EARLY this morning - I woke up in the city of Izmir, Turkey. I've never done that before. But after boarding a plane at Pearson in Toronto on Sunday night, and flying 9 hours to Munich, Germany and another 2 and a half or so to Izmir - here I am.
By the time we got here last night - there wasn't much time left to do much. We 'freshened up', had dinner, then an hour or so to collect our thoughts before our first one hour lecture. And you know what? Learning about Pentecostal Theology in the region that the apostle Paul birthed the churches of Asia Minor and near where John wrote the book of Revelation - not a bad deal!
Anyhow - went to sleep by 10:30pm or so and at 4am I was wide awake. Not unusual for one of these trips - but annoying just the same.
I laid there awake as the eerie yet melodic sounds of the early morning call to prayer rang out over the housetops and the buildings and the dark streets of Izmir. And thought to myself, how ironic that a region I had come to visit because of it's significance in Biblical and church history, is now so steeped in Islaam.
Then again - I'm from Canada. A nation supposedly founded on Christian principles yet now rampantly secular with strong pockets of Muslim and Hindu and sprinklings of every other imaginable world religion in between.
The thought emphasizes to me again, that God's kingdom is first and foremost in our hearts. It's why in this place our spirit can be quickened, not just because of geography, but because of the realization that some significant beginnings occurred here. But I don't need to stay here. The Spirit of Christ is with me always - no matter where I travel.
I have to go now...to Ephesus. That is going to be very cool!