In this week sandwiched between women's camp and family camp, I found myself cherishing Athens and missing home more than I have thus far. Though there has been work this week, hard work, there was a post-camp rest day (when you last heard from me) and today, our pre-camp day. This morning on the metro, I pulled out the book that I am slowly, or as the Greeks delight in saying "σιγα, σιγα," moving through, C.S. Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet." Typically when I have time to read here, I choose to plant myself in, ya know, God's Word. But on a day like today (meaning I have time to read both), I pulled out my novel and began to read what could have been the essence of my own heart.
"Ever since he awoke on the space-ship, Ransom had been thinking abut the amazing adventure of going to another planet, and about his chances of returning from it. What he had not thought about was being on it. It was with a kind of stupefaction each morning that he found himself neither arriving in, nor escaping from, but simply living on, Malacandra; waking, sleeping, eating, swimming, and even, as the days passed, talking. The wonder of it smote him most strongly when he found himself, about three weeks after his arrival, actually going for a walk. A few weeks later he had his favourite walks, and his favourite foods; he was beginning to develop habits." (Lewis, 66)
I giggled to myself (what a relief, an emotional reaction that isn't crying) and thought about myself as Lewis's character, Ransom. I, too, had considered the amazing adventure it would all be, going off to Greece for the summer to do what I've dreamed of and returning gloriously to the Atlanta airport, with a golden tan and stories of all that the Lord has done. But being here? This is the real adventure. I have favorite cafes and restaurants, favorite squares, and even a favorite cherry vendor. I go for walks, shop for groceries, and take public transport.
I live in Athens.
Being blessed to be in a city rich with history, I made my way to the National Archaeological Museum on my rainy Sabbath morning. I had the opportunity to tour this same museum in part when I studied abroad, but other than the burial mask of Agamemnon, the thing I remember most about the visit was being teased by and laughing with the guys, only to be met with disciplinary looks from the professors. This trip was much different, I wandered through beautiful art and every day items of antiquity quietly and alone, with desire to read each plaque's golden nuggets of information.
Without noticing at first, I kept quoting scripture in my mind, as if at artifacts, one after another.
"Lay up treasure in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroy." (Matt. 6:19)
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:8)
"And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:16)
As I pondered this more, I couldn't help but be in awe of the glory of Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, as Hebrews says. The kingdoms of ancient times no longer stand, but the kingdom of heaven is still standing, being built on with each steward of the gospel of peace. I think about what I am doing this summer, the praying and the floor-scrubbing, the child caring and food-serving, may not have major impact, but I am building on the kingdom of heaven.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:10-13:
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Even the wood, hay, and straw of an intern's work is building on the foundation of Jesus. Moreover, I am so thankful to be building onto the Kingdom of Light alongside the team the Lord has given me. This past week was a lot of bonding as we worked together, whether laboring physically or in a ministerial way, I learned a lot about them and myself. I truly cherish these people and how our God is working through and growing each person.
Like the beloved protagonist, Ransom, I absent-mindedly have been adapting to the reality of living in Greece for this season. I am waking, sleeping, eating, swimming, and even, as days passed, talking (although I am not a linguist and my vocabulary is rather limited.) Day in and day out, walking with the Lord, I am simply living in Athens.
Tomorrow we leave for refugee family camp, a week where those seeking come for teaching, fun, and fellowship. They bring their kids and their questions about Jesus the Christ. PLEASE be interceding for this week!! As always, thank you for your love and support, it does not go unnoticed.