Today as we were hiking in a rural section of the Lycian Way, we came upon some old Lycian ruins next to a field. This sight was amazing to me. The Lycians lived 2500 years ago, and some farmer is using the same field today. The longevity of the place contrasted the number of civilizations that have come and gone over the centuries.
As Cezanna mentioned in her blog entry (“Listening to Paul’s Teachings“), the day we were in Miletus, we read Paul’s farewell to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:17) and his letter to the Ephesians. When he said his farewell, he supposedly stood in this very amphitheater that would have looked out over the harbor of Miletus. Today, it looks out at unimpressive terrain.
The harbor that once made this a busy port city is now kilometers away. The sea that those coming from Ephesus would have sailed across is now dry ground. The amphitheater is all that is left of Miletus, the rest having been toppled by earthquakes and buried by silt. Yet here we were, reading the words Paul spoke and wrote all those years ago.
In one of my geology classes, I learned that the Appalachian mountains were once bigger than the present day Himalayas, but they have since been worn down by wind and weather and most of their substance has been distributed into the lands below and carried to the sea (reminding me of Ps 46).
For some reason, the temporality of things that are so inconceivably old always leads me to think about what eternity must be. Just as the silt being carried from the mountains buried Miletus and much of Ephesus, the Lycian ruins I saw today will also pass away and be “carried into the midst of the sea”. But the God that Jesus called Father, that Paul taught in Miletus and that John wrote about from Patmos, is the same Principle we have today. No matter how much we understand and live it, it has not faded. It cannot be buried. It will never pass away.