Be a Berean

Be a Berean

The last couple of weeks were amazing. The Mediterranean region is simply fascinating.  I’ve spent considerable more time in the eastern Mediterranean, so checking out the west was special. I’ll have to get back to Florence and Rome, some day.  I enjoyed the eternal city much more on this trip.

We did learn some rather novel interpretations of history from a couple of our guides.  I don’t think you can believe everything they say, right?  One insisted that Christopher Columbus brought the first marijuana to the America’s.  Of course, if that were true, he’d might be a bit more popular these days.  I did look it up and there was probably hemp rope on the ships, but that’s about all.  Besides those Vikings from the north might have brought that plant our direction.  Who knew?  Not our guide.

That same guide also insisted that the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria were filled with Spanish Jews that the crown wanted to remove Spain.  Really?  Well, I did some research and discovered that is most likely not the case.  Again.  Maybe one or two, but Columbus was not used to rid Spain of Jews.

And then there was the guide in Rome, who told us that the Trinity was composed of the Father, Son, and Mary.  Mary?  The Holy Spirit gets kicked out by Mary?  Wow, that’s interesting.  Wonder where that came from, because is certainly didn’t come from the Bible.

So what else that we were taught is questionable?  Not sure, but I bet there was plenty.  It was striking (not really) that in all our travels, no one mentioned the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Really?  It’s a big deal, right?  Well, not in southern Europe, only in the north.  And the Greeks weren’t fond of it either.  It was rather eerie to walk through St. Peter’s and know what was being preached back home while I was there.

I think one of the highlights of the journey (besides the company we kept, that’s a given) was our journey from Thessaloniki to Philippi.  We chose to drive a long 90 minutes from the port city of Thessaloniki to the inland city of Philippi.  Two centers of Paul’s ministry in Europe.  There were some quiet moments to reflect on the journey of the Gospel into Europe for the first time as we stood by the stream in Philippi.  We read the story of Lydia’s conversion by the river.  It’s a beautiful site and makes the story come alive.

We did run out of time to visit a nearby place – Berea.  That’s where the believers were so committed to Jesus that they wouldn’t just listen to a teacher, any teach, without putting him under the scrutiny of the Word.   That’s went for Paul too.  That’s the heart I want to cultivate.  Don’t just buy into what you’re told.  No myths.  No legends.  No opinions.  May we reflect that respect for God’s Word all the time, no matter where we travel or under whose teaching we sit.  Even this morning.  Be a Berean.  I’ll have to go there some day.