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Monday, May 15, 2017

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There is a liveliness in Paul's words to the Athenians gathered in front of the Areopagus. We would do well to emulate his address to a similarly skeptical, well-read and even stoic audience about the nature of the God we worship in Christ. Paul does not seek to immediately edify or convert the crowd; rather, as he ramps up his apostolic appeal, he acknowledges the extreme religiousness of his audience and even goes on to quote a secular poet familiar to them. Immediately after his affirmation of the consuming quest for God, he speaks of how we "search for," and, further, we "grope for," before we finally "find" God (v.27). Paul is verbally "searching" and "groping" for his audience in order to find the best language to introduce them to the risen Christ, to offer to them a name for their anonymous, "unknown God" (v. 23). He finally finds his audience by incorporating into his argument, not his beloved Scripture, but what "even some of your own poets have said" (v. 28).

God of the world and everything in it, help us to continue to search and grope for you with our words and with every way we evangelize about the good news of your son, Jesus. Help us to find common language for speaking about you with every crowd we encounter. In the name of Jesus, the risen one. Amen.

Sam Bardwell, '15
Actor, Minneapolis, Minn.

Acts 17:22-31 (NRSV)

22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way.
23 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.
24 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,
25 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.
26 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,
27 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.
28 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 offspring.'
29 Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.
30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.