Today I am officially on Day 3 of a 5 week break from ministry to others. Because of family dynamics I am on this journey without my wife or children. It is my second sabbatical break in my ministry. After serving 8 years straight it is truly nice to not have a sermon or bible study to prepare for around the corner. Part of my desire and hope is to withdraw and refresh, but I realize since I am not in a monastery of solitude for 5 weeks, that I still deal with people and relationships wherever I go. So this blog post and a few to follow are to share parts of my journey with those who know me or are just curious.
I am staying in a wonderful guest home for missionaries in Bogart, GA. Part of my time away is to take a course in Hermeneutics. I also decided that I will try to eat meals with people without depending on typical restaurants and fast food places. I have already and plan to fast and pray, but when I eat find different contexts. So I am open to ideas if you have any. So last night I broke a fast by attending a Spaghetti dinner open to the community at the Greek Orthodox Church near Athens.
Below is a short video and some pictures. This church only does this once a month and opens the doors to the community. I meet a man named Steve who was a greek member of the church. He and his wife Tina were in the very late 80's and very gracious to me. I discovered that their son in law was the priest of the church. I really did not know much about the Greek Orthodox church from an insider perspective, but after last night I certainly got one. Father Anthony who married their daughter is the priest and as well a artist. All of the paintings in the church were done by him. Amazing art work. I also discovered that GOC ( Greek Orthodox church ) is very similar to my roots of being a Roman Catholic. Main difference is their pope is not viewed as infallible and if a priest gets married before they are ordained then they can be married. Interesting huh?
One thing I would not fully embrace is their veneration of the saints. Even though they know their history of the great saints and martyrs of the faith (unlike most protestants) they tend to idolize them far more then I believe they should and seem to pray to dead saints including the virgin Mary.
Anyway it was some interesting meal and time and during the dinner each month they invite different music and singing groups to come into the dinner to entertain. Therefore the video below of the Mad Dogs of Athens big band group.