“Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing.”
Our second full day in Greece began with a bus ride through the hills to Philippi. While in the city we had the opportunity to visit a river referred to as the “Jordan of Egypt,” because it was where Lydia, the first convert to Christianity in Europe, is said to have been baptized.
Before heading to our next stop, the Chorale gathered in the baptistery, a small round chapel near the river. In awe of the powerful artwork and acoustics, we spontaneously began to sing one of our songs, “Bogoroditse,” without an audience or set formation. The notes rising through the chapel meant more to us than just a performance- it was a special moment of impromptu worship.
After climbing back into the bus, we drove to the ruins of Philippi, where we toured one of the first theatres in Greece, as well as the ancient city and acropolis of Philippi. Standing directly in the spot where the apostle Paul once stood so many years ago, we read from the book of Acts.
After the tour, we set up for our concert performance at the City Music School of Drama in Philippi.
When the show ended and we were able to greet more of our audience, we learned that we had the opportunity to visit a Syrian refugee camp a few minutes away.
With a simple plan of walking into the camp to perform a few songs and hand out a couple snacks, we had no idea what to expect. All we could do was pray for God to use us to bring some sort of comfort and some sort of love to these people who have lost so much.
When we got to the camp we were shocked by what we found. Genuine joy. Smiling faces and warm greetings. Open arms welcoming us in and beckoning us to share our music. After we sang a couple songs we were able to play with the children while having conversations with some of the adults.
Although we were only able to stay for a short time, our fifteen minutes in the camp will be imprinted on our hearts and minds for years to come. We could not fix the situation for the refugees we met, or end their hurting, but we were able to give and partake in their joy. We may have only been able to see a tiny fraction of their experience, but we will never forget it.