Today we took the short journey (by coach) from Kavala (the ancient port of Neapolis where Paul and Silas landed in Madedonia) to Philippi. This photo shows riverside near the probable spot where they met Lydia and the other women who were gathered for prayer (Acts 16:13-15). Lydia listened to Paul and became a Christian. Our pilgrimage group renewed our baptismal vows at the spot where she would have been baptised.
It was not long after this that Paul and Silas were set upon by a rabble raised by the owners of a slave-girl whom Paul had delivered from a spirit of fortune-telling (Acts 16:16-39). They were dragged to the Forum, the large marketplace in the centre of the city (in the foreground right) and brought before the magistrates who had them beaten with rods and thrown in jail. It was important to me to walk on the same pavement where Paul walked, but you need to use your imagination to transform these ancient ruins into the bustling city centre full of people where this scene took place. Perhaps it's easier to imagine it when you read of Christians today being falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan and threatened by crowds baying for their blood (see the Barnabas Fund website for such stories). Acts16:35 shows that the magistrates only intended to keep Paul and Silas incarcerated for a night. We need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate.