Text: Acts 17:16-34
To be ready for whenever someone gives you a hearing
For the spread of the Gospel in the world
ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS images of Paul is him standing on the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, addressing the Athenian philosophers who gathered to hear him. Surrounded by Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, Paul tries to present his message to people who would have no knowledge of the God of Israel or the Scriptures that gave witness to God. What to do?
Paul tries to make a point of contact, knowing that most of his audience would say that God is revealed through nature and observation. While the Bible leans toward God as being self-revealing, hidden to human wisdom, and acting out of free choice, Paul pushes his listeners to think through the implications of their theology, asking them to consider more deeply what it means to make images of a god, and what it means to be God’s offspring.
Here again, we see how the Gospel “turns the world upside down,” and many of his listeners scoff. Yet Paul’s efforts are not without fruit, as several named and unnamed persons come to faith by Paul’s proclamation. The Orthodox Church traces its origins in part to Dionysius who is remembered as the first bishop of Athens. We should never be discouraged as we share our experience of God who has brought Jesus back from the dead; there may be a Dionysius in our lives!
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks
---Detail, Icon of St. Dionysius the Areopagite