Those of us who preach regularly have our own process for discerning what texts to discuss and/or themes to cover, and which concerns need our attention. Weeks before events unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., I chose a portion of Acts 17 to describe how we as God’s divine creations are called to transform our lives and our world.
In that 1st century passage, Disciple Paul addresses an Athenian council, noting both its religiosity and its shrines. He reminds the council that God is Supreme Creator of all being and things. He declares that the council’s purpose isn’t to create idols, erect statues or build churches. Rather, its purpose is to seek and align with God, for God is never far away.
And perhaps, more important, he says:
In God we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, “We are God’s offspring.” And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed from gold or silver or stone.
According to Paul, then, we need only follow God. He reminds the council — and us — that no amount of statues, monuments, or edifices can prove our love for God or make God love us anymore since we already are loved unconditionally, with infinite compassion. Yet, 2,000 years later, we seem to have learned little of this truth. Despite all our so-called advances, some of us have made no progress.
Our spirituality is misdirected when we choose to follow other people, places and things first, when we make idols of possessions, positions, statues and structures, all of which fall apart. Rather than build our lives on the inherent wisdom, wonder and worth within us because we all are God’s divine creations — no matter where we live, how we look or who we love — we build ourselves and our lives on the backs of others, so our egos feel better and our pride can lick its wounds.
Some of us have been taught that we’re meant to claim our supremacy and make ourselves more powerful at another’s expense. Some of us never learned, despite all the spiritual masters and ancient wisdom at our fingertips, that the radiant Presence of God we are, here in this world right now, is our greatest power. And that we’re most powerful when we live from the authenticity and depth of this presence, our divinity.
What harmony and peace we will have when we remember that there is only one supreme power in the world and in our lives, that each one of us is created by it, and we all are one before it. Maybe now, 2,000 years later, we can do as Disciple Paul advised: Live and know who we are and whose we are, all of us, everyone, no monuments required.
© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.