Scripture Reading: Acts 17:22-31
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. –Acts 17:22-27
How many times do we use language describing ourselves as serving God? Today I stumble over Paul’s sentence (emphasis added): 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. I am amazed that I had not seen this before or at how much sense Paul makes. God loves us and wants the very best for us. Thus, it stands to reason that the service we do for and with each other is the extension of God’s love through us to one another. Following the way of being Jesus modeled and taught shows us the how of living into God’s love by serving one another.
Recently, I was stunned by a leader in the Oklahoma legislature who refused to put forward a change in our state gaming laws, which included more revenue for the state, because gambling was against his personal moral values based, I assume, on his faith. While he apparently sees no moral issues in increasing state revenues by adding regressive taxes that impact the poor disproportionately. He clearly does not understand that a 6 cent per gallon gasoline tax increase causes extreme hardship for someone living on $7.50 an hour while it would barely impact someone making $50 an hour. It seems we confuse the responsibility to follow our personal moral beliefs by projecting them onto others as addressing the Common Good. We fail to provide for the Common Good through finding our collective moral center in concern for our fellow citizens, which is the Common Good.
Prayer: Lord, guide us in serving you more nearly by considering and serving all your offspring in your name. Amen.
Credit for Slide: https://www.slideshare.net/ValuesCentre/cultural-transformation-vs-change-richard-barrett
All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.