“Afterwards I went to places in Syria and Cilicia”.
Gal 1:21 GNB
We all – well, most of us – have a fondness for our home town or district. If we have been away for years we get a warm glow at the thought of returning.
After his visit to Jerusalem Paul returned to where he had come from. In Syria, just to the north of Israel, is situated Damascus. There Paul would have a strong relationship with Ananias and most likely the rest of the church in Damascus as well since it was here that his amazing vision of Christ had taken place. In addition, to the north of the country was the city of Antioch which had a strong church and from which, later he would launch his mission to the Gentiles. Cilicia was next door again, to the north of Syria and round the coast to the south-east corner of modern day Turkey. His home town of Tarsus was in Cilicia and it was a seat of learning. In the years that Paul spent in these parts he was maturing, learning, leading and thinking through his own theology of Jesus and his sal- vation. He needed to revise his thinking on many things in order to get a good handle on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, and to work out his ideas about the church. All the time he would have to think out his new faith in relation to his Bible – our Old Testament.
Cherish your own childhood home area. Don’t live there in your imagination or hanker for “the good old days”. Always be ready to move on to where God leads you for the present and the future.
Lord, thank you for my home town and for everywhere that I have found you leading me onwards.