That failed military coup in Turkey last week brought to mind many thoughts. Some sobering thoughts such as the delicate balance that Turkey has between being the Muslim world’s most democratic nation yet existing in a tough neighborhood with Syria and the Middle East to the south.
It is a nation that oozes with many layers of history and culture and perhaps the only place in the world where there is a stage that at various times featured St. Paul and Elton John. Both supposedly played to appreciative crowds.
You likely first heard of Ephesus, which dates back to 10 B.C., during those sleepy Sunday mornings at church when the readings included Paul’s letters to the Ephesians. I always envisioned the folks of that ancient Turkish village going to the post office on a Sunday morning to see if mail from Paul had arrived. When something did arrive they passed it around, though “church purity” might have been a disappointing topic for people who were hoping instead for gossip from Constantinople.
Paul actually lived in Ephesus for about two years, where he would have been a frequent lecturer around town. In a sense, he was the village’s first celebrity performer preaching at the Great Theatre. In modern times the town has become a popular, though rustic, concert destination. Elton John performed there July 2001. The stage has also seen the likes of Ray Charles, Julio Inglesa and Sting.
(Elton John’s home country also faced upheaval last week, though far more civilly, as a new prime minister and cabinet took over in response to England’s decision to leave the European Union.)
Different people have different messages to deliver in many ways. Paul was a Jewish Greek who molded Christianity. The stage at Ephesus has been as multi-dimensional as Turkey, where Europe touches borders with Asia. The whole world is better off when the letters sent there are songs of peace.
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.
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