Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. Acts 17:22
Life in our time is not so different from life in other times. Sure, there are new technologies and things look different. And yes, the pace of life seems to be racing by at a much faster clip than in some previous ages. But the basic concerns of people remain the same: Can I find love? Does my life have meaning and purpose? What does it mean for me to be mortal? Does God exist or not? If God does exist, what is the nature of that God? And so forth.
We live in a time when religion has declined in influence and in popularity compared to even a few decades ago. But religion is still an important part of our culture and if you are reading this blog post, it is probably an important part of your life. Spiritual curiosity has not declined and so many people who don’t participate in religious life do search for the answers to their spiritual questions and wonder about many of the same questions that we wrestle with from a place of Christian faith.
The above quote is from Paul speaking to a group of people in the public square of his time. He sees signs of their religious and spiritual curiosity. He understands some of the questions they ponder and worry about. He then uses the things he sees to connect their concerns with his witness to the risen Jesus. He doesn’t just spit out a canned speech. He takes what he knows about the God he meets in Jesus and connects it to what he sees in the community around him. It works – people who have questions about life long for the chance to hear about and discuss where they might search for the answers.
In our time, each of us has this same opportunity. We know something about what we see and learn about God from meeting the risen Jesus. We know some of the things that our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers wrestle with and wonder about life. We simply need to spend some time reflecting on how to make those connections and with gracious and gentle spirits share the connections we see and the faith we have.
This week, spend a little time thinking about what you know about the God you have met in Jesus. Also spend a bit of time reflecting on the main concerns of some of the people who are closest to you. How can you connect the two in ways that are meaningful for you and may be helpful to others?