This Sunday, I will be preaching on Acts 17:15-33. It’s the passage of Paul encountering the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens and telling them about Jesus. I think it’s pretty applicable to where we are as a local church and as the Church.
I was recently at the Congregational School of Development in St. Louis where I heard that the fastest growing religious affiliation is “non-affiliated.” It’s growing faster than the Christians, Muslim, or Jewish faiths. These are people that likely consider themselves spiritual, but do not affiliate with any of the major religions exclusively. Many will go on Google, or read a few books, and much like going to Golden Corral (mmm…I’m getting hungry) people pick and choose what looks appetizing and fulfilling to them in their “spiritual journey.” This is the world that we live in.
Paul- goes into the marketplace (he does not shy away from it) and shares Christ resurrected. He does not point out the areas where the Athenians are wrong (something we Christians are quite good at), but tries to establish some rapport or point of reference by quoting a poet and citing an altar in the city.
The result? Some laughed at what Paul offered them. There were others who wanted to hear more. Finally, some of the people became followers- by name we know of Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus and a woman named Damaris.
When we take the Good News of the Resurrection out into the marketplace, and establish a dialogue about our faith and our beliefs, it gives people an opportunity to make a choice to follow Jesus or their own path. But we must offer the choice.
What’s this mean for Hope Church? For that, you’ll have to be in worship on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.!