This morning we went all over Thessaloniki, mostly on foot checking out a cool 5th century church where St. Demetrius ministered and then we went to several locations throughout the city built in the 2nd Century Roman period which outlines the city walls as Paul and Silas would have experienced them. I decided last night that we would wait until after lunch to have our worship service and so we made our way to the Starbucks down by this plaza filled with thousands of people just hanging out for the day (beautiful by the way, blue skies and 80 - sorry it's not been so good in Normal). I chose this location because I love to drink Starbucks half a world away, but also because it represents the variety and hecticness of a city that Paul would have encountered 2,000 years ago. The majority of the group headed straight to the plaza to get seats in the umbrella-shaded cafe' area and Scott, Phil and I headed back to the hotel to pick up the video equipment and the bread and wine for communion.
When we got to the place we began setting up the equipment, lots of people stared, some stopped and listened. I preached not only to our group, but also to many strangers -felt very Paul-like (though I don't hold a candle to him) - I got to preach in Thessalonica! Wow! Thrill of a lifetime. By the time I had finished my teaching from Thessalonica, i closed with a benediction Paul wrote to the first Christians here in chapter three of I thessalonians. J.K. led us in prayer and there watching the sea we celebrated the Lord's supper just like those Christians of old. It was special and I got emotional (surprise, surprise) as I prayed for Joel, Matt, and everyone at Eastview (church in Normal was one hour from the first service - it was 4:00 p.m. here). The night was very laid back as we all went our separate ways for dinner. A group of us grabbed a little cafe' in old Thessalonica and enjoyed a great dinner as the sun went down and the little lights of the restaurants and street musicians came to life. Tomorrow is an early day for us...so after some study for the Phillipi lesson tomorrow, I will hit the bed early. We have a long day tomorrow, heading to Philippi in the morning and then to the border crossing hotel in Istanbul!