Reading: Acts 17: 22-28
Verse 24: … the Lord of heaven and earth… does not live in temples built by human hands.
Today’s passage finds Paul in Athens. He is there doing what he always did: sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. But Athens is not Jerusalem. It is the center of the Greek world and has overlays of the Roman world as well. Centuries of philosophers have sat in the Aeropagus and argued and debated all aspects and facets of life. They have covered mortality and religion, ethics and justice, their own existence and the meaning of life. Paul observes that the culture is very polytheistic. They worship many different gods. Paul takes all of this into account as he begins his sermon this day. He begins by sharing the observation that they are very religious and then turns to the “unknown god” statue. Paul goes on to proclaim the unknown god to be the God of all creation. He even quotes a couple of Greek philosophers to help his case. Paul is using a piece of the dominant culture to win over his audience. We too have an opportunity to do this as well.
Where will you find yourself coming up against non-believers today? Will it be at work? At lunch? Out on your walk? And will they be worshipping an unknown god? As we consider all of this, we also must how we could do that Paul did – use some of today’s popular culture to tie back into our God and our faith. Maybe it is by working with integrity and honor and finding success on God’s terms. Maybe it is by being gracious and by practicing Good listening skills while at lunch. Maybe it is by noticing the person on the street and by taking a moment to be the hands and feet of Jesus for them. There are many ways to meet people where they are at and to bring our faith into the situation. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead!
But maybe you are not quite here yet. Maybe today’s passage speaks to your own ‘unknown god’. Is it parked in the garage? Does it sit on a large lot? Is it kept safe in a vault? Or is it fragile and rests upon the opinions of others? At times it can be easy to worship idols. So maybe our challenge today is to identify our idol and to begin to let it go. Paul stated, “the Lord of heaven and earth… does not live in temples built by human hands”. Are we living or acting as if God did live here?
Wherever we find ourselves in today’s passage, may we strive for our life to reflect His glory, “for in Him we live and move and have our being”.