Saturday night, 10:30 and I’ve listened to the Adhan, the call to prayer, piped through loud speakers attached to minarets like kudzu. The night is inky, parts blue and black, white bodied gulls fly near and over the dome of the Blue Mosque and my thoughts are beginning to stray toward home where, in one week, I will be standing in a familiar pulpit with a beloved congregation.
A traveler must be careful about drawing conclusions about any place s/he visits since first impressions are often misguided. A city and a people take time to reveal themselves. That said, there are impressions and they should be freely but carefully offered. For me, Constantinople is where I wanted to travel–a place no longer in time but whose remnants can be found beneath layers of stone and centuries of art and political life. I have had some success touching Constantinople with the help of good books, the experience of being here on the ground and because Dr. Kinnamon has, while preaching and teaching to you about ecumenical life, gained me an audience with His Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. I also have had the pleasure of speaking to a young man who converted to Christianity and has put me in touch with a pastor who has a small house church where on Siunday, I hope to worship. And I have had many occasions to drink tea with hospitable Turks who have invited me not only into their shops but briefly into their day and their lives. I have many more impressions but far too manny for a blog entry! The love of God and Peace of Christ unite us,