The Altar to an Unknown God

Acts chapter seventeen depicts the apostle Paul’s time in Athens, including a sermon he gave at Mars Hill. At the time, Athens was a major cultural hub. Paul notes that they are also a very religious people, saying that he has spent time studying the religious objects in the city. He calls attention to one, in particular, an altar with the inscription “to an unknown God.

We are homesick in ways that our souls are unable to utter. We yearn for more, whatever more looks like.

Musician Lisa Gungor sings of wandering through the world, looking for an anchor, a love that will set her free. I wonder, how long have I been searching for the same thing, with the answer right in front of me. I believe that worship is part of all of our lives, whether or not we choose to recognize it as such. We earnestly seek the glory of Hollywood, the perfect body shape, money, relationships, success, power, and sex. These are the things that carry weight in our lives. The Greek word for glory, kabod, translates to “to give weight to.” If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Its easy to get carried away with the idea that these things will make our lives better. But are they really freeing?

Christ told the woman at the well that she worshipped that which she did not know. Paul calls this worshipping in ignorance, and  goes on to say that the Creator of the universe cannot be contained in a temple built by flesh and blood. Moreover, this God, who gives life and breath to all, has determined the course of our lives so that we might find Him.

Is that not the crux of the entirety of scripture? Even in our darkest hour, when it seemed that all hope was lost -- we were being held, and beckoned into the residence of this Goodness.

Perhaps I have been fumbling about my life in the same way, worshipping a God confined to a box with a steeple. Perhaps I’ve made assumptions about God, as if I was in a position to pass judgment on Him,  and have been entirely wrong. Its no secret that carrying on a relationship with someone that you can’t physically see or hear or touch is difficult. But scripture convicts that we have no excuse for not worshipping.

Paul’s letter to the church at Rome tells us that there is evidence of God everywhere. Our Father invites us to encounter Him in our small, everyday moments. But letting Him in is a choice, one to be made every day. Perhaps a large portion of our difficulty comes from the fact that He told us there would be trouble. He warned that there was no instant fix to life’s pain, and that, at times, can be frightening and even infuriating.

So what in the world, what in all this bleak and hurting world can we do?

Coming to the AltarLinking up with The Nester and a host of other amazing bloggers for {31 Days}.