Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it
Read Acts 17:16-34
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
Thoughts to ponder
All cultures are fallen, yet Jesus reveals God in all of them. The church does not need to force people to leave all aspects of their culture in order to worship God through Jesus Christ. (Circle of Hope Proverbs)
In Circle of Hope, we do a pretty good job of making sure not to strip other cultures of positive aspects in them when it comes to their expression of the faith. Our solidarity prayers, and singing songs in different language, exist so that we are one with Christians across the world.
Though there is a lot to be angry about in the United States, one of our pastors, Rod White, wrote a blog article about a few good things about the U.S. Here’s an excerpt:
I don’t think we could say that God loves the “typical” American, since there isn’t one, or that he loves what typifies Americans when sociologists talk about them. But there are some general characteristics that are probably worth lauding on the National Holiday. Last night, I mentioned a few things I considered a blessing:
- country music,
- rich people like Jon Bon Jovi giving away money (like to Habitat for Humanity and Project Home),
- the government’s support of home-buying and family-building,
- the optimism that says things like “who says I can’t do that?”
Ultimately, my point was that we should walk around our city (and country) and find something good in it like Paul did when he went to Athens. He told the Areopagus this, “As I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. “ In the forest of temples worshiping demons, he found a possibility. He found something he could report as good. I like that.
Suggestion for action
Make a list of things you love about this culture. Things that you think God can use. If you have a difficult time with this, start with yourself and your friends. List the positive characteristics that you possess that reflect the image of God. If you are still having a hard time affirming yourself, ask for Jesus to reveal these things to you.