Yesterday was a unique and wonderful experience for Norma Jean and me.
The day began in a most unusual way as we slept in until 11:00 am. That has never happened on a Sunday morning. Obviously, we were catching up on the missed sleep on the flight from the United States to Greece.
After enjoying some local coffee and Greek pastry, we ventured out to explore some of the sites close to our apartment. Following an enjoyable lunch with the best gyros I’ve ever eaten, we hurried back to our temporary home to get ready for the 6:00 p.m. worship service in English.
Our taxi driver quickly found the meeting house and we arrived about 40 minutes early. But the preacher, Dino Roussos, a few brethren and a class studying Greek were already there. We were welcomed warmly. And given a tour the of facility they are renting.
Before worship began Dino spent about 15 minutes discussing the importance and means of salvation with several of the Iranians who were visiting.
Shortly after six worship began with songs in both English and the Iranian language of Farsi. After several songs and prayers, the Lord’s Supper was offered with some appropriate remarks by brother Dino.
After a very kind introduction by Dino, I spoke to the assembly from Romans 12:1-2 on the topic “Conformed or Transformed?” Since we had a large number of Iranian brethren and guests, my message was translated into Farsi.
And the end of the service a man named Abraham with whom Dino had been studying was baptized into Christ. His joy and the excitement with which he was received by the brethren was encouraging and energizing.
After a lengthy time of visiting with everyone, the Roussos, along with his co-worker Demetrius, his wife Rita, who’s from the Philippines, their son and a young lady from Albania, all went to a fabulous Greek restaurant for a wonderful dinner.
As we returned back to our flat, I reflected on the events of the evening. We were 6,000 miles away from the United States, with no friends or acquaintances in Athens. But in a few hours had made many new friends.
The commonality in Christ is a unique bond that is difficult for the world to understand. It unites us in a special way. And provides a basis for real brotherhood.
For years I have theoretically spoken of how the Bible, when followed, has believers all over the world following the same pattern of worship. Yesterday we experienced it.
While their customs and traditions are different. Their language was different. The order of their worship was different. Their meeting place was different. Much was the same. We sang praises to God. We prayed in Jesus name. The same gospel message of salvation was taught. And baptism for the remission of sins was practiced. And the joyful, spirited worship in which we engaged together enriched and edified us spiritually.
Thanks be to God for the Good News that brings us together. Offers a comradeship in Christ. And promises eternal life to all who believe and obey regardless of their language, race, gender, ethnicity or nationality. (Gal 3:26-28)
Yesterday was a Sunday we will never forget. We are grateful for the opportunity and privilege to worship God with the brethren in Athens.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman