In 2016 we were able to visit Athens to meet church members and visit places our son had served in as a missionary. It was good to have him with us, not only acting as a tour guide but putting his fluent Greek to work. We also had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with the Heder’s, Jacobs Mission President and “Mission Mum”
We saw and did lots of amazing things, but I would like to share just two.
A couple of thousand years before us, the Apostle Paul had visited Mars Hill, and shared some thoughts with the Greeks…
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” Acts 17:22-23
The Greeks were and are a clever and industrious people. Standing on Mars hill and looking over the modern city is impressive, but turning 180 degrees and seeing the Parthenon in the midst of the Acropolis, is a little overwhelming. Especially when you consider the Parthenon had already been there for centuries when Paul visited.
What was very noticeable, was the multitudes that surround you in such places, tourists from all over the world. Some sightseeing, some interested in history, but many desiring, to just be where an Apostle of Jesus Christ had stood.
Our day visit to Corinth was a lot quieter than the center of Athens. Corinth is a reasonable drive out of the city and when we arrived I was struck by how big the coach park was, even though it was empty. It became obvious that just like Mars Hill, this was a place people came on a pilgrimage, to walk in the footsteps of Apostles.
Whenever I read the epistles that Paul wrote to the Corinthians in my bible now, it has greater depth and meaning. Picturing the place and the country is a great way to bring the scriptures to life. But I never feel the desire to return there, just to stand where an Apostle has stood. Why ? Because I have met and shook hands with several living Apostles… Elder Ballard, Elder Oaks, Elder Christofferson and Elder Holland.
The Lord has restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ complete with the same structure and organisation that existed in bible times
“We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.” Articles of Faith
This coming month, we will have the opportunity to listen to council and wisdom from Prophets and Apostles, at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We do not have to travel back in time, or feel the dust of their footprints in ancient cities. Over two days these messages will be watched live in the Conference Center, broadcast via satellite to church buildings and streamed over the internet to be watched around the globe.
“As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. … There are messages in each general conference given as a gift and a blessing from heaven specifically for our personal life situations.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
What a blessing it is to know that God has prepared a way to share messages with us for our time, just as he did in the days of the bible, many may even say we need more direction today than ever before! How could you choose to miss such an event ?
Be where Apostles are, not where the were !!