It’s Monday, May 23, 2011; and we are still here on earth! I couldn’t help but chuckle as I was reading the text from Acts assigned for this coming Sunday. Paul is speaking to the Greeks and says in the final two verses:
“While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 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.” [Acts 17:30-31 NRSV – underline emphasis is mine]
HE – GOD – has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness; not humans. If we knew that day then we would be gods.
I never cease to be baffled as to how any human being thinks that he or she should have superior knowledge to that of anyone else on earth as far as knowing when the world will end, or Jesus returns, or judgment day will arrive, or any other cataclysmic event that is beyond our control. It is the epitome of arrogance to think in such fashion and borders on stupidity. Enough said!
The readings for this coming Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, are Acts 17:22–31; Psalm 66:8–20; 1 Peter 3:13–22; and John 14:15–21.
The second reading and the Gospel are continuations of last Sunday’s readings; but Acts, leaps from the stoning of Stephen to Paul’s mission to Athens and his criticism of the Greeks’ worship of idols.
As I prepare this week I’m leaning toward this text in an effort to draw parallels between pagan worship then and our current worship traditions. Is it a fair comparison?
It is wonderfully timely that this is Memorial Day weekend. Given how patriotic fervor often tends to overshadow our religious life, especially on weekends such as this, it poses some interesting contrasts.
Questions to ponder and thoughts to pursue as you go through this week in anticipation of worship next weekend:
- Who do you worship and why do you worship?
- God and country, which matters most?
- Which would you be more willing to die for – you faith or your motherland?
Read Psalm 66:8—20 several times. I hope you’ll find it as remarkably comforting and reassuring as I did.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday at 5 p.m. or Sunday at 9 a.m.