Small Town News


Truth from Athens

Silver State Post of Deer Lodge, Montana

- Advertisement -

Pastor's pen

I was eavesdropping on the apostle Paul this last week as he was chatting with some philosopher types in Athens, Greece, (see the full story in Acts 17) He was sharing with them truths that are as helpful to us now as they were to the Athenians then.

"Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious." (v22) Paul pointed out that humans are designed to worship. It appears built into us to acknowledge that there is someone greater than us "out there" somewhere. No matter how off the wall or mainstream the religion is, we share a desire to reach toward a god of some kind.

Paul offers a further truth, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." (24) God is universal, not tribal. If there really is a god out there, he must be the uncreated creator of everything.

Anything less would not really be God, and would not be worthy of our worship. Many of the religions of human history have had a god who lived in a certain temple or resided in a certain territory.

These gods only listened to the prayers of a certain tribe or people group. Paul points out that such local tribal views of god fall short. Only a universal God will do.

Of course such a high and mighty God could feel untouchable, so Paul offers, "God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (v 27) The third truth is that the universal God is quite near, so it pays to seek him out. The God responsible for the entire universe knows what we had for lunch, and wants to get to know us.

It seems worth it to seek a god who wants to be found, and wants us to get to know him personally.

Paul continues, "...we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." (v 29-30) God is looking for repentance, not enshrinement.

He doesn't want us to build him a holy box to be kenneled in, he wants us to ask for repentance. He wants to forgive us and launch a relationship. Shrines and structures are not what turn him on. People are who he wants to restore and befriend.

Lastly, Paul tells of Jesus, claiming "He has given proof of this to all men by raising him [Jesus] from the dead." (v 31) In our search to worship a god somewhere, Paul reminds us that Christianity claims that Jesus not only died for us, but rose again and is alive to be in a relationship with us now.

The resurrection of Jesus backs up the story that a universal God really did come to earth to connect to humans. What will we do with the story of a resurrected Jesus? Who will we worship?

Copyright 2012 Silver State Post, Deer Lodge, Montana. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 24, 2012

More from Silver State Post