I can’t seem to find the time to blog these days. A rolling stone gathers no moss, as they say. The early bird gets worms and that’s the way the cookie rolls.
So the sermon went well on Sunday. I went a bit overtime (I spoke for about 26 minutes), but didn’t overstay my welcome, as it were. As I said earlier, the text for my sermon was from Acts 17:16-34, which recounts the apostle Paul’s address to the Athenian philosophers in response to the altar dedicated to the unknown God.
After a brief digression into the etymology of the Greek word translated “unknown” (v. 23), I began a lengthy discourse on the relative merits of ivory vs. soap-stone idols (v. 16 – ivory is more durable, whereas soap-stone is less likely to result in the unnecessary deaths of elephants and other betusked mammals). This was all punctuated with a brief foray into damnation for the reprobate.
Not really. In fact, there are a number of interesting subjects one could tackle working from this passage (poaching is not one of them), but I took Paul’s assertion that God “is not far from each one of us” and ran with it. God is near as creator and sustainer (cf. vv. 24,25, 28); God is nearer still as he works to bring humankind back into relationship with him (cf. vv. 26, 27); and through the Holy Spirit (promised to Jesus’ followers), God is about as near as one can be (that’s not mentioned in the passage, but it’s still true.) Judging by the positive comments I received, I wasn’t the only one at work here.
I enjoyed preparing for this sermon. There are times when an indecisive person such as myself knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. I definitely liked preparing and “executing” this sermon. But, as I said in my last post, I feel like I had it easy with this passage, as there was so much to work with. There are many other more difficult passages I could have had to deal with.
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Things keep rolling along. Work is busy this week, with April 30/May 1 possessions, plus birthdays, plus other momentous occasions…and then May 15 possessions…and then I lead worship at the end of May. And before most of that, I really need to finish processing those wedding picture (humblest apologies to anyone connected to that).
And through all that, I look forward to getting back to my “for fun” reading (which isn’t, quite frankly, all that different from “preparing for sermon” material), which I mostly put off for a month while I mulled over the Acts passage. N.T. Wright needs my attention, and Frank McCourt and—oh my!—Dallad Willard has been neglected for too long. Time to push through and finish some of these books off.