Friday, September 24, 2010

What do we worship?

Today's New Testament daily  lectionary passage (which can be found here: ) is from Acts 19.  And, surprise, surprise Paul is getting into trouble again.  Paul is in Ephesus, and the major trouble seems to be coming from the fact that many seem to be hearing Paul proclaim the gospel, accepting Jesus - and then here is the part that causes the problems - actually changing their lives.
One of the first people to notice this change in peoples lives - and to see the ramifications of these changes is a silversmith named Demetrius.  
Ephesus, was the the site of a great temple to the goddess Artemis.  Demetrius and many other artisans, along with a whole host of other people made a very nice living off of people coming to visit and worship at the temple of Artemis.  But all of those people that were becoming Christians were no longer part of the temple economy - and that was very bad for Demetrius' business and for business in general in Ephesus.   
So Demetrius gathers all the interested parties and starts to cause trouble for Paul and the Christians.  But what I really found interesting is some of the language he used to incite them into action against Paul and the Christians.  This is what Demetrius says in verse 26: 
26You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 
How first century and uneducated of them right?  I mean thinking that a God can be made with our hands or bought or purchased and held.  How foolish.  
But then, while that understanding certainly is different than what we say and/or think we believe is it really so different than how we act and how we live.
A god is something one is devoted to and focused on.  A god is something/someone that is put at the center of our lives as the focus of our existence.  A god is something/someone that we strive to honor and glorify.  

Now, look at the way that we live our lives.  Look at the way we prioritize our daily/weekly schedules and how we spend our time.  Look at what we spend our money on.  Looking at all of that, how many of us begin to look like we worship a god made with our own or someone else's hands?  How many of our lives look like they are focused around a god that can be purchased (like clothing, nice things, houses, etc.) How many of us have at the center of our lives something as fleeting as money, fame or influence?  
That is not the gospel that Jesus, Paul or any Christian preaches.  We know this.  But we have to endeavor to live lives to match our knowledge and understanding.  We can do this, with God's help.  Amen. 

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