Today is Wednesday the 12 May, the feast of Saints Nereus, Achillieus & Pancras, in the Sixth Week of Easter.
One Hope Project sings, ‘Where the Lord Dwells’.
Today’s reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his children.’
Paul is talking to strangers – the people of Athens rather than Jerusalem. He’s in a foreign place, a world he doesn’t know well. But he feels the conviction that somehow God is mysteriously present in this unknown world. Stay for a minute or two with that scene. What does Paul see?
Can you remember a time when you were in a strange and unfamiliar place? Can you picture it now? What do you see?
Now imagine just one of the people in that unfamiliar place, imagine them not as a stranger or as some kind of threat, but as someone, like you, striving to make sense of life. Imagine yourself praying for them, even praying with them.
In listening to the passage again, concentrate this time on what Paul does, convinced as he is that no one is a stranger to God… that God is very close to each and every one of us.
What do you want to say now to the God whose child you are, whose children we all are, to the God in whom we live and move and have our being?
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.