Daily Devotion 30 July 2020
Acts 17:22-28 ‘Paul Preaches God – the one in whom we live and move and have our being’
22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For 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. 24 The 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, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From 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, 27 so 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. 28 For “In him we live and move and have our being”
More than a year ago I was given a ‘Fitbit’. If you’ve never heard of this, or seen one, it’s basically a wrist-watch device which tells the time and date… and does lots of other things too. As the name suggests, the basic ones will count the steps you take that day, measure how many calories you burn off during different types of exercise, that sort of thing. The more advanced ones will record your heart rate, sleep patterns, and much more besides. (It strikes me we’re getting dangerously into Douglas Adams territory here – do you remember in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Ford Prefect arguing with the onboard computer? Ford says: “I wouldn’t trust that computer to speak my weight.”. “I can do that for you, sure,” enthused the computer, punching out more ticker tape. “I can even work out your personality problems to ten decimal places if it will help.”).
My one is pretty basic, and my personality will be unaffected by my Fitbit! However, there is a setting on mine where it will remind me to move: if I have not been active for a while it will vibrate and prompt me to do at least 250 steps every hour. I tend to keep this turned off – I can work out when I need to move by myself, thank you very much!
Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus is in front of a Greek, pagan audience, with various preconceptions about what a deity is, what gods are like, and Paul has to go back to basics: there is one God, who made all things, is beyond us, and yet gives life to all… and ‘in him we live and move and have our being’. This beautiful phrase Paul finishes with is almost rhythmical if you say it aloud. (It’s a Greek philosophical device called a ‘tricolon’ – Paul cleverly expressing himself in ways the locals would recognize). We live and have our being in God, yes, but in him we move too. God moves us, sometimes from place to place, sometimes from one time to another. God prompts us, nudges us forward into new possibilities and experiences. God reminds us to move if we become static, stale, or stuck in our ways (oops I’ve just used a tricolon without meaning to!). In the coming months we’re going to see lots of changes taking place for sure – so let’s make sure that it is in God we move. That we, we’ll move in love, we’ll move in harmony, and we’ll move together with one another, and together with God.
God our Maker, ground us in your unshakeable and unchangeable love in these days.
God our Mover, guide us forward, and keep us always yours, by your grace. AMEN.
Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Paul Tabraham.
Image freely available online.
A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356