Sermon Synopsis Acts 17:16-32

Our Grandparents called it a phonograph machine; our parents, the HiFi… for High Fidelity. I grew up witnessing the evolution from large consoles that were as much furniture as function to the stacked systems with Amp/Receivers cabled to turntables and cassette players with Dolby sound filters. We would spray alcohol on a velvet roller to carefully remove dust from the vinyl record to avoid a pop in the song as the needle passed over it. As money allowed, we made trips to Highland Appliance or Fretters to buy ever larger speakers… I now have an original suitcase type record player with built in speakers from the 1950’s that plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78. How the mighty have fallen.

Some years ago a friend heard me mention how much I enjoyed the Smothers Brothers records. She surprised me with several of the original records that I had remembered from so many years ago. And so this past Sunday for the Children’s Message I sang the story of the star-crossed love of Herman and Sally. Herman was a lobster and Sally was a crab. The problem was that they could never be together because of their differences; after all, crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight!

There is a thread often overlooked in our passage as Paul presents the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Athenians. He does not abandon his own “Faith model” but he approaches the people of the city showing respect to their faith. His argument is not adversarial but intellectual as he begins to introduce Christ by referring to one of the City’s tributes to, “The Unknown God.”

Ironically, the reason Paul was in Athens was that he was fleeing his own people who were so angered by his interpretation of Judaism (with Jesus as Messiah) that they had threatened his life.

I am saddened when I see the Christian church today speaking with such contempt towards people of other faiths. I actually sat in a room where a Christian leader challenged everyone to name one person in history that acted selflessly to help others who wasn’t a Christian. I said out loud, “Gandhi…” He appeared stunned. It is as if the church has blinders on which only see good within ourselves.

I believe a careful reading of Scripture allows us to see a God who is creator of everything and everyone whom none of us can ever truly comprehend. My faith model proclaims his son Jesus as Christ, the Messiah. But I hope that my heart can learn to see God in everyone.

Remember, crabs walk sideways and lobsters walk straight… but they get where they’re going nevertheless!

Warmly,

Rev Dan