Wednesday, July 31, 2013

a new audience

Good afternoon friends,
I hope you have a chance to enjoy this lovely day. Our reading today begins an interesting episode in Paul's ministry. Most of the time we see Paul begin his ministry in a new place by going to the synagogue. That makes sense because he could expect to find people there who were interested in spiritual things. In today's story he is in Athens, and in some ways the spiritual center of Athens was philosophy and the market, so that's where Paul starts.

We'll notice that Paul explains himself differently because his audience doesn't share his Jewish background. We too need to pay attention to our audience when we proclaim the gospel. Other people we meet might not know the story of Jesus. They might never have grown up in a church, or, more difficult, they might have had bad experiences in church that make tradition a block to faith. When we want to share our faith, we need to consider who we are speaking with so our message will make sense to them.

God bless,

Acts 17:16-21

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and also in the market-place every day with those who happened to be there. 18Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, ‘What does this babbler want to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.’ (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.)

19So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, ‘May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.’ 21Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new.

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