URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 23rd April 2024

Tuesday 23rd April 2024
Reading Acts 17: 20-25

You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.


I love visiting ancient cities with archaeological sites and I have had the privilege of visiting a few such visits. I remember sitting on the rocky outcrop, the Areopagus in Athens, reading St. Paul’s amazing speech from Acts Chapter 17. Interesting that he had already been discussing with people in synagogue and marketplace which prompted others to bring him to the Areopagus to continue the debate in front of a cohort of professional thinkers on a hill which embodied respect for lawful debate.

So sad that today public and private discourse can become far too polemic, tribal, and toxic. It is no wonder that many of us would want to steer well clear of typical debates that ensue today. The need to be ever more controversial, especially on social media platforms does make me despair much of the time. And yet…. I believe with all my heart that God is the God of the universe then and therefore has not abandoned these spaces and places and neither should we.

Our reading said that people ‘spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas’ and such is life today perhaps. When we seek to defend the Christian faith, known as apologetics, or seek to persuade we might not immediately like Paul say ‘I see that in every way you are very religious’. But when we actually stop and think we might in fact realise that most people do have objects of devotions, frameworks of beliefs and world-views which motivate and shape their lives.

There is the potential for people to be pointed toward the one who is the source, guide and goal of all that is. If we believe as St. Paul said in his speech that God ‘gives everyone life and breath and everything else’ then the good news is that we can employ our hearts and our minds to express, with humility and confidence the truths that have grabbed and captivated us.


God of the public space, 
I lament the hatred and abuse 
that people direct towards one another. 
I confess my timidity in explaining the faith
but I pray that in different ways 
I can be part of something much better 
in the ways I speak of you. 
Search me, O God, and know my heart, 
test me and know my thoughts. 
See if there is any wicked way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting.  Amen


Today’s writer

The Revd Eddie Boon is the Thames North Synod Discipleship Enabler. 


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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