Acts 17:22-31 (NRSV)
Verse 22Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. Verse 23For 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. Verse 24The 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, Verse 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. Verse 26From 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, Verse 27so 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. Verse 28For '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.' Verse 29Since 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. Verse 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, Verse 31because 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."
Paul’s visit to Athens was unexpected. His message of Christ crucified had angered the Jews at Thessalonica to the point that they followed him to Beroea. Paul’s safety was in jeopardy, so the Beroean believers sent him off to Athens. While he waited for his colleagues to join him, he went about the city, where he discovered shrines and altars dedicated to various gods. At the Areopagus hill near the famous temple of Athena, Paul addressed those gathered there, telling them that their worship of graven images was misguided. He commended them for being religious, but noted they were looking for God in the wrong places. Instead he challenged them to note the one and only true God, who does not live in shrines made by humans. This is the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, the God who raised from the dead Jesus, who was sent into the world to bring justice and peace for those who follow him.
As I journey through this day help me to see your finger at work in all that takes place, trusting the outcome because it is in your hands. Amen.