April 30, 2008

The Unknown God

The selection from the Acts of the Apostles for the first reading today is one of my favorites:
Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.

Paul's strategy is clever, and I think that it's one that might imitate. For though much of our world has ceased to be interested in God or real spiritual health, people still know that they want something more. The prevalence of failed relationships, addictions, and consumerism shows that we late modern people are grasping for something. But because we have outgrown the living God, we attempt to console ourselves with pseudo-spiritual utterances that are useless and vague. "Intelligent design," "supreme being," "my spirituality," and other inanities form the late modern ersatz for God.

It is up to us Christians to proclaim to the world that the deepest longing of the human heart, this something that we are chasing after with all of our selfishnesses and sins, this is what is, in truth, the living God, the God of Israel, the Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Jesus Christ.

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