“Tree of Life”

August 31, 2022

 Genesis 2:9

Genesis tells us that God created trees on the third day.  The trees had seeds and bore fruit.  They were good and they blessed people.   In the center of the Garden of Eden were two special trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Humans were put in the garden and told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but the tree of life was not mentioned until Adam and Eve had eaten from the forbidden tree and were driven from the garden for fear of eating from the tree of life.

     When I read “tree of life” I think of Revelation and the vision that is woven of eternity with a tree of life.  Revelations 22:2 says, “down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”  I think we would all say “amen” to have the division among nations healed!  I looked in a concordance and found that in Proverbs, wisdom literature, “the fruit of righteousness is a tree of life. (11:30)  “Longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (13:12)” and “The soothing tongue is a tree of life. (15:4)”

         When I think of trees that bring life medically or any other way, I think of the cross of Jesus and the suffering that he went through so we might have the forgiveness of sin and experience that tree of life in eternity.  It is hard to unpack the Christian lingo around this but today it means to me that Christ suffering on the cross means God intimately understands the agony of my husband all disoriented and feeling abandoned as he adjusts to memory care.  We are only on day 2 but my husband said, “I want to go home NOW!” yesterday as I visited.  I can take all my tears to Jesus because I know God understands and has felt that pain of abandonment and perceived rejection from the people he loved.  God is not just a judge in the skies but incarnated and now through the Holy Spirit walks with us.  The cross is the tree of life that tells me we have a God who knows, cares, and is preparing a place for us where the nations will be healed.  Blessings in your struggling points today.

“Two Trees”

August 30, 2022

Genesis 2:8-9

         “And God saw that it was good.”  God created trees and was pleased with his creation.  Chapter 2 of Genesis retells the story of creation with a slightly different texture and with more details.  The story focuses in on the Garden of Eden planted in the East.  Man was created to care for this garden that had all sorts of trees.  The writer describes them as “pleasing to the eye and good for food.”  You may be thinking of an apple tree and Johnny Appleseed spreading seeds around the USA. My son and I went to Target tonight.  I grabbed dried mango for my husband in his new placement and my son spotted fresh sliced mango that we grabbed for breakfast.  Mango trees come from our background even though I never saw one till I was in my 30s.  The author goes on to say that there were two special trees in the center of the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Trees are not just about seeds, fruit and bark for houses.  Tree can give life.

         Just for example, cinnamon bark is good for our heart.  Papaya is good for digestion.  You can probably think of other examples.  Bees build hives in trees and bless us.  Tree give life by protecting us.  Trees define our borders.  Trees function in many life giving ways.  One of my favorite moments in Minneapolis was to sit and look at all the shades of green of the tree leaves on the many trees growing along the Mississippi and think of God’s creativity.

         Can you think of five ways God brings life to you through trees?  Thank God for those special moments when special trees have brought you life.  Thank you Lord!  Blessings.


August 29, 2022

Genesis 1:11-12

This week we enter the month of September and we start thinking of Fall or Autumn.  The leaves on trees begin to change color and age.  My husband is walking the journey of Parkinson’s Disease and so the topic of aging and changing and declining in ability is “In my face.”  What was once a vibrant, producing, and my mighty oak is loosing its leaves and I grieve.

         So I am going to turn my devotionals to the topic of trees before we enter October and Halloween or Reformation month.  My sister offered me some reflections that touched me.  She started with the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil but let me go back to Genesis 1: 11,12.

         Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants       and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their   various kinds.”… “And God saw that it was good.”

Trees are good!  Several years back we lived in Minneapolis.  We took a journey East for the graduation of our daughter-in-law.  On arrival, we received a phone call saying a tornado had touched down in Minneapolis and in six seconds, swept six miles through our area uprooting 1,000 trees.  Police were riding bikes and horses!  Sidewalks were cracked as roots broke through.  Our whole scenery was changed. Our world changed without trees to shade us.  We felt vulnerable.

         Think of one of your favorite trees.  I love the talking tree in Lord of the Rings.  What stories trees might tell of the lives lived under them.  Perhaps you hung a swing from a favorite tree’s sturdy limb.  Perhaps you enjoy its vibrant colors in fall.  Or it might be a beautiful Christmas tree that is full of grace and promise that brings joy and peace to your heart.  Can you list five words to describe your special tree?  If you were a tree, what tree would you like to be?  Take a moment to thank God for trees in your life and for people who have been like trees to you.  Blessings.

12th Sunday after Pentecost

August 28, 2022

First Reading: Proverbs 25:6-7

6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
  or stand in the place of the great;
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
  than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Psalm: Psalm 112

1Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord
  and have great delight in God’s commandments!
2Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
  the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3Wealth and riches will be in their house,
  and their righteousness will last forever.
4Light shines in the darkness for the upright;
  the righteous are merciful and full | of compassion.
5It is good for them to be generous in lending
  and to manage their affairs with justice.
6For they will never be shaken;
  the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
7They will not be afraid of any evil rumors;
  their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8Their heart is established and will not shrink,
  until they see their desire upon their enemies.
9They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast          forever; they will hold up their head with honor.
10The wicked will see it and be angry; they will gnash their teeth   and pine away; the desires of the wicked will perish.

Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

1Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. 4Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6So we can say with confidence,
 “The Lord is my helper;
  I will not be afraid.
 What can anyone do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


Here is a short summary of one of our favorite children’s tales, Cinderella.  A wicked stepmother and her two jealous daughters treat Cinderella, the daughter of the missing father as a servant. They make sure Cinderella will not be able to attend the royal ball. But Cinderella’s fairy godmother appears and magically transforms Cinderella with a gown, coach and glass slippers. Cinderella enchants the handsome Prince Charming at the ball, but there is a catch.  At midnight she returns to her everyday life.  We all cheer when the Prince finds Cinderella by using the glass slipper.  They live happy ever after.  Oh sigh.  Ah if only life were like that.

         So which character grabs your imagination today, the step-mother, the step-sisters, Cinderella, the fairy Godmother, or Prince Charming?  Share with your neighbor which one you like.

Let us pray.  Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer.


We love the story of Cinderella and keep reinventing it in various film versions.  The basic plot is common to stories in many cultures around the world.  In fact today our text tells of a parable told by Jesus at a meal on the Sabbath at a Pharisee’s home.  Jesus notices the guests trying to get the best seats.  Not too dissimilar to being invited to the Prince’s ball.

         Jesus tells a parable about another banquet but interestingly he describes the banquet in the second person, “you,” and invites even us to identify directly with the characters in the parable.  Not only are we personally invited into this parable, into this banquet, but Jesus is setting the parable in a greater discussion he is having with followers about the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven.  During Pentecost we are asking ourselves how the truths of Jesus impact our lives so a  “you” invite is appropriate.  We are invited to the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven.   I would suggest today that the story of Cinderella pulls the truth of the parable Jesus shares into our current life stories that in a way we understand.  Who do you identify with in the Cinderella story?

         The film Ever After sets Cinderella in France and gives a bit of context to the stepmother.  Cinderella’s father is never mentioned possibly because he died after remarrying, leaving Cinderella to be raised by her stepmother. Some of us know the disappointment of marriage that did not turn out as we anticipated, of relationship dreams never fulfilled, of carrying burdens of stepchildren.  It is so easy to scapegoat, to take out our disappointment on those around us.  Life after the death, disappearance of a spouse or loss of a father is hard.  Perhaps we choose the stepmother because we understand her pain and frustration.

         Some of us are like the stepsisters, number two, second class citizens.  We feel like the extra baggage that came as the result of another’s choice.  We too want to be invited to a banquet where we might feel important and seen.  We want someone to replace our lost birthfather.  We want a handsome prince.  We dream of the day when we will be valued and can sit at a place of honor at a banquet.

         Cinderella could represent a person enslaved by the injustices of life.  I’m sure refugees, victims of war, maybe the poor are tempted to sit by the fire and sigh about their life and the hopelessness of it.  Perhaps today you identify as someone at the meal watching other people scramble for seats of honor and realizing you don’t fit in that group.  The Pharisees would never invite you to their home.  Life has put you at the fringes.

         Let us not forget Prince Charming.  He is the one everyone wants to be aligned with.  Popularity is a double edged deal.  Is he popular because of his looks?  Because of his money?  Because of his connections?  Finding a friend, or a wife, that “sticks closer than a brother” is a hard task our prince is facing.  Proverbs 31 would affirm this, “A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.”  Perhaps you are looking for that special someone today.

         Then there is the fairy godmother.  Few of us identify with her power to give hope to Cinderella nor do we possess the magic to change mice into horses, a pumpkin into a coach.  But as grandparents we can bless grandchildren with stories and affirmation that opens new worlds to them. We are friends and we have the magic of listening others back into life when they are discouraged and need a shoulder to cry on.  Perhaps you are a boss who helps an employee stand a little bit taller with words of affirmation and recognition.  We all have the power to give life and hope to others so you might identify with the fairy godmother today as you seek to bless another.

         Perhaps I am stretching this children’s fable a bit but there are certain things I notice.  God’s kingdom is often compared to a wedding feast and the invitation is open to all.  He invites not just all the women but he invites all of us.  Christ died for all!  He died for the stepmothers, the stepsisters, the Cinderellas, the Prince Charmings, the missing father, and the fairy godmothers.  We are all invited.  And like the disciples and like the guests in the parable, we would love a seat of honor.  Reading the parable as a moral story about being humble without putting ourselves in the story, sells the story short.  We are those guests invited to a banquet and are challenged to reflect today on our attitude about that invitation.  Are we scrambling for seats of honor or too busy to respond to the invite or taking our invite for granted and not properly clothed..  Jesus addresses us, “When you are invited to a wedding banquet…”

Words To the Guests

Humility: a modest or low view of one’s own importance

         Jesus first addresses the guests, “…do not sit down at the place of honor.”  Running through the Gospels is this theme of reversals.  The road to ultimate happiness is not through putting ourselves forward but through “a modest or low view of our own importance.” Humility and trust in God is important.  Honor does not come through works but through grace.  Cinderella has no hope to be chosen and elevated and she knows it. Disney would have us believe it is because Cinderella is beautiful, blessed with a dazzling countenance, has an empowering godmother and of course is oh so humble.  None of us possess those qualities. Humility calls us to acknowledge our humanness, our sinfulness.  We do not get to the eternal banquet without kneeling at the communion table banquet where we acknowledge sinfulness and our need for God’s grace. 

         Our dreams have us scramble for seats of honor.  Humility is realizing that it is the host who determines who sits where at the banquet.  Waiting for the host to show us where to sit is hard. We are tempted to focus on the flaws of the others and falsely flatter our own attributes as we seek high seats. We are not realistic in evaluating our worth.   Humility is looking to the host for seating, for value.  All the guests are flawed.  We do not know their stories.  Our value does not lie within us but within the eyes of the host who invited us.  God is the only true, honest, impartial judge of who sits where.

           We are all invited and we are all flawed.  And the truth is that the magic fades at midnight and we are left with our sinful selves.  We all need the magic, the forgiveness of Jesus.  The journey with aging certainly makes us realize that our value is fading.  Life is unfair.  Disease seems sometimes to be an arbitrary enemy attacking the rich and the poor, the young and the old, and the talented and ordinary.  Economic and environmental factors affect and threaten everyone at the banquet.  The banquets of this world can disappear but it is the eternal banquet in the heavenly kingdom whose invitation we need to seek. God’s grace not only throws the banquet to which all are invited but also God’s grace rewards us all appropriately and knows the right seat for us.  God is the one who will exalt us. Jesus reminds us, you and me, “11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

         Jesus’ word to us today:  we are all invited, God knows where we will sit, and God exalts us.  It is grace and not works.

Words To the host

Invite those who cannot repay

Jesus now addresses the host of the meal.  Now we have another reversal of logic.  Let us think about who gets invited to banquets.  We can pull up several current examples.  A fund raising meal invites those whom the host hopes will participate in the cause the meal represents or at least the guest will pay a large price to be invited.  Money is speaking!  We often call it a benefit.  Each plate benefits the host or the cause.  Then there is the list for the wedding meal after the wedding.  The bride’s family can invite so many and the groom’s family can invite so many because each meal costs the host.  Each plate represents a social obligation of the host.  Another current example would be the Thanksgiving meal or some other family gathering.  Be honest!  We reflect first on who came last year and who we are socially obligated to include along with our favorite peeps.  Who to invite is always a question we think about.

         It seems to me that Jesus is saying that who we invite to a banquet reflects on the character of the host.  Hosts often invite based on what they can get rather than on what they can give, on appearances, and on social connectedness.  That is not the character of God.  He is not obligated and he is not trying to impress us. Again we see that God invites all of us to the banqueting table and “his banner over us is love.”  Jesus himself was criticized for eating with sinners and tax collectors.  Jesus stops his journey to tell Zacchaeus up in a tree that he would eat at his house.  God invites unlikely people like you and me to his eternal banquet.  The doctor treats the sick that need healing.

         Hosting is not about obligation but about who we desire to bless.  But hosting is also an investment in the future.  We hear the phrase now, “pay forward.”  Blessing someone today who can never repay us is an investment in the future and a statement of our faith that there is a God who sees and cares.  “14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The unseen reality

         Jesus is teaching us about the kingdom of heaven.  He speaks to the guests and to the host at a Pharisees’ meal by telling a parable to them and us about banquet behavior.  The parable resonates with our fable of Cinderella.  In the Cinderella fable, all the women are invited to a ball where the prince will choose a bride.  All want to attend but are flawed by the scars of life.  All want to be chosen, blessed.  It is the intervention of the fairy godmother that makes it possible for Cinderella to be chosen.  It is the intervention of Christ on the cross that makes it possible for us to approach God.

         But let me make one more point.  Jesus is a host and a guest in this world.  He created us and is one with the King but comes down to earth to dance with us through our lives.  It is his grace that blesses and it is his grace that touches our lives.  Jesus is the ultimate guest and the best host! Jesus can transform the disappointment of the stepmother, the jealousy of the stepsisters, and the poverty of Cinderella in our life.  It’s not magic.  It is grace and we say thank you.

Let the people of God say, “Amen!”

“He Leadeth Me”

August 27, 2022

         “He Leadeth Me ” written by Joseph H. Gilmore in 1880 with music composed by William Bradbury is a Christian hymn. He was inspired by the scripture of Psalm 23 and created this renowned, popular hymn.

1 He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, he leadeth me;
by his own hand he leadeth me:
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.

2 Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s flowers bloom,
by waters calm, o’er troubled sea,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me. Refrain

3 Lord, I would clasp thy hand in mine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ’tis my God that leadeth me. Refrain

4 And when my task on earth is done,
when, by thy grace, the victory’s won,
e’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
since God through Jordan leadeth me. Refrain

Gilmore at age 28, a young preacher, was preaching on the 23rd Psalm but became struck by the depth of the words, “he leadeth me” in green pastures.  That inspired his sermon.  This week we read how Paul was comforted by his vision from the Lord and continued to speak in Corinth.  Apollo, Aguila and Priscilla as budding young leaders were led by the Holy Spirit to reach out to people who only knew of John’s baptism for forgiveness of sins.  God’s leading and love touches us in a way that fear of his chastisement does not.

Gilmore scribbled the words to this hymn on a scrap of paper after preaching the sermon and stuffed it in his pocket. His wife found the paper and submitted it to a magazine for publishing.  Years later Gilmore discovered his poem set to music in a hymnal.  His wife remembered her part in the poem’s journey.  God leads in mysterious ways.  May you be comforted knowing that the Holy Spirit walks with you and leads you through the coming week!

“The Holy Spirit”

August 26, 2022

Acts 19:1-10

Have you ever felt like the man who met Jesus as Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration?  The man’s son was possessed by an evil spirit that sounds much like we understand epilepsy today.  Jesus tells the man anything is possible for the person who believes.  The man cries out, “I believe, help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)’ We believe but we also realize we are a work in progress and we may not know or understand everything.  I believe, but help… 

     Early Christians did not have our written Scriptures and faith was an oral process as one told another and presented truth in public places.  Some like Paul and Apollos were able to present Old Testament truths but most believed as a result of someone else’s testimony.  Today’s reading shares how some people had never heard of the Holy Spirit.  They understood faith as coming from John the Baptist, “a baptism of forgiveness for sins.”  Basically that means they understood faith as a result of works, of repenting and trying to work harder to live life to please the God to whom sacrifices were given.  Paul introduces the Holy Spirit and the reality of grace.  That’s a huge difference and reorientation.

         We would like to think if we just live a better life that the goodies of life will be showered on us.  If we only have faith, the miracle will happen.  John describes the Holy Spirit as the comforter who walks in us, leading, guiding, correcting, interceding, not  just making our life comfortable.  Today I feel like the man who met Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.”  Perhaps you too want to put those areas of life that challenge your existing faith to a new level into God’s hands.  The Holy Spirit interprets our prayers when we are not sure what to say.  Blessings as you pray this morning!


August 25, 2022

Acts 18:12-28

Luke now splatters his narrative with new names of followers as Paul works his way back home.  He is taken to court in Corinth but the Proconsul refuses to hear a case about religious law.  The opponents go after the head of the synagogue and beat him, not Paul.  Paul is able to continue teaching and gradually traveling to Antioch.

         I am not geographically spiff and I barely recognize names like Priscilla and Aquilla plus Apollos but leadership is forming in the new church and a network of churches.  It is not important that I recognize peple and places but we know God remembers them as they are recorded in history. From a spiritual formation point of view, we see that sharing our faith is important.  We are part of a puzzle that God is putting together.

         I love to do one of those Ipad puzzles daily.  Each piece at the beginning is a mystery unless it has a straight edge and can be moved to the frame of the picture.  Perhaps we are like that.  We become so involved in our own stories, we loose perspective on the big picture that is forming.

But God does not.  We are each important and some day we will understand.  Paul has finished his second missionary journey.  He has gone to new places, made new friends, and discipled new leaders.

         Let us take a few minutes to sit back and thank God for the journey he has us on and trust that he knows the big picture of not only our life but the masterpiece he is putting together.  Blessings.

“Do not be afraid”

August 24, 2022

Acts 18: 1-11

         “Do not be afraid.” I love those words.  Fear seems so real and is so crippling!  I sometimes think “fear” is my middle name.  My confirmation verse was Isaiah 41:10 that opens, “So do not fear, for I am with you.”

Paul has now traveled from Athens to Corinth in today’s reading and Paul is reunited with Timothy and Silas.  Again we see a pattern in Paul’s life.  He starts sharing in the synagogue.  Some Jews and Gentiles believe and others object.  Paul moves his place of sharing to the home of Titius Crispus, a worshipper of God, who lived next door.  Paul himself must have recognized the pattern and feared that mobs, beatings and prison were about to unfold.  We sometimes think Paul was a super believer and never doubted but this little scene shows us a human fearing the future and a God who reaches out to him to comfort and assure him.  It is a tender moment looking at the process of spiritual growth.

         “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision; ‘Do not be afraid; keep         on speaking, do not b silent.  For I am with you and no one is going to     attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’”

         I do not know what fears plague you today.  Perhaps the mistakes of the past will side swipe you in the future.  Maybe the secrets of the past will become known.  Someone who out performs you in an area you are proud of may come on the scene.  Then there are the fears from the outside forces of disease or politics.  Some of us grieve loss and fear we will not be strong to carry on.  God comes to us and comforts us that he knows, he sees and he is walking with us into and through our future.  “Do not fear, I am with you,” says the Lord.  Thank you.  Blessings as you face your fears with the Lord.


August 23, 2022

Acts 17: 29-34

Our reading today has Paul winding up his discussion with the Epicureans and the Stoics in Athens.  Epicureans live for the joy of life’s pleasure and the Stoics cling to logic…science.  Both philosophies are alive and well in our world today.  We know we have the right to “happiness.”  My son often tells me, “You drink your Kool-Aid mom and I’ll drink mine.”  He believes there is no absolute truth so take your choice.  Paul would disagree.  Before Christ, God was distant, unknown and unseen and approached through sacrifices.  But with the coming of Jesus the Christ, God revealed his true character and  proved it by the resurrection.  “Ignorance of the law” is no excuse anymore.  God does not live in building and temples.  God is not represented by some carving by people.  Paul challenges his listeners to repent and embrace a new truth.

         Repentance is turning away from our ignorance.  I remember as a young adult being engaged in a life style that was not getting me where I wanted to go and came to a crisis.  Would I continue making the same mistake, dating the same type of guys, going to the same type of events and coming home unfulfilled?  Something needed to change in order to grow.  Spiritual discipline is that gradual struggling with choices about how we are going to live.  God does not force us to be Christians nor to abandon lifestyles that are destructive to ourselves.  Even as those people listened to Paul and then had to decide how to live, we listen to Scripture, friends, music, sermons and choose to embrace the truth being revealed to us.  There is a God who revealed himself in the life of Jesus Christ, who died and rose, and who wants to spend eternity with us.  That is hard to believe.  Like the Athenians we say “We want to hear you again on this subject.” (verse 32)  Blessings as you grapple with your choices.


August 22, 2022

Acts 17:15-34

Paul has been hustled off to Athens and is awaiting Silas and Timothy to join him.  As he waits he walks around this huge metropolis, observing the statues and evidence of worship.  He is not in the towns of Turkey now and his first steps are to observe.  He also goes to the synagogue and talks with Jews and Greeks but he seems intrigued by his new observations.  Perhaps we too would be wise to watch before engaging mouth! 

         When invited by the Epicureans and the Stoics to talk at the Areopagus, Paul is ready.  As Paul sees the statues in the city, Paul comes to realize that the statue “to the unknown God” ties into the local philosophy very significantly.  If we cannot know, cannot see, cannot hear or touch God then we best eat, drink and be happy for we know not when we will die like the Epicurians.  Likewise if God is unknowable then there is no need to try to live to please him as with the Stoics.   It is futile.  Paul starts talking here, God’s hiddenness, and that is a good place to start.  If we cannot know God then what is spiritual growth all about?

         Paul does not start with Abraham as he does with the Jews but he starts with creation.   If the unknown God is the creator then he cannot live in a building or a thing.  He is greater.  We need to seek him and allow him to reveal himself.  Hence he comes to us in Jesus who came to reveal the character of this unseen, untouchable God.  The proof is that Jesus resurrected pointing to the eternal and the truth of his message.

         So where do we start with our faith story?  Many track their journey back to a relative like Abraham or a mother who led them to the Lord.  Others try to build a logical theology of God to explain the chaos of life.  Some go to the emotions of a transforming experience and experiencing the love of God.  Paul went to the hiddenness of God that can only be revealed in Jesus Christ and Scripture.  Core to this idea is that God wants to be known by his creation and worshipped as such.  God wants to be known by you and me!   Amazing!  Blessings on your journey to get to know him better.