May 18, 2017
for Sunday, May 21
1 Peter 3:13-22
This Week's Reflection Comes From
Rev. Gail Riina
Chaplain, Syracuse University
Lutheran Campus Ministry, Syracuse
Paul at the Areopagus in Athens
Every once in a while there is a moment when everyone is really listening to you, and you have the chance to speak the truth you know powerfully. St. Paul had such a moment when he stopped in Athens on his missionary journey across the Roman Empire. Usually he spoke in synagogues, but here in this cosmopolitan trading center, where the learned from around the world gathered to share their philosophy of life, test their theories of how things work and argue for their political positions, Paul went out into the market place and told the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.
He argued with the Epicureans who taught that happiness should be the main goal in life, and with the Stoics who taught that people could/should just learn self-control and be directed by their conscience. St. Paul was given a time slot at the Areopagus, the Athenian judicial counsel, to state his case. We come into the story as Paul is taken to where the council held its meetings on the hill dedicated to Mars, the pagan God of war. It was the same place that Socrates had been accused of teaching about a foreign God, and when he refused to step back from his convictions was sentenced and executed. But times had changed and now the council was open to hearing about the new foreign deity that St. Paul proclaimed. The Athenians were interested in anything and everything new.
And what happened when St. Paul made his case? Well, some of the people who heard him laughed, some dismissed what he had to say but some put their faith in the Lord, some of them even went with Paul when he left the council meeting.
The scene on campus is not very different from the scene that St. Paul encountered in Athens. The response on campus to the gospel message is also not very different.
Did you know that the nature religions, including several branches of paganism, are growing in America? Cycling back to something old often looks like something new, and it makes me sad that so many people don't know the great Christian heritage of creation care. One of the outreach programs of Lutheran Campus Ministry was the ECO-House, where students lived together to support each other in lifestyles that lowered their carbon footprint, and sponsored events on caring for the environment for other students.
One day, on the way back from an ECO-House field trip, we passed a sign promoting the annual Plowshares Craft Fair at Nottingham H.S. in Syracuse. One of the students asked what plowshares was, and I told her it was a biblical reference from the prophet Isaiah that spoke of the coming time of Peace; when the implements of war would be blunted and bent into tools for farming. The car full of students started asking questions. It was an opportunity that thrilled and frightened me. It is a conversation I will always remember. Since then I learned that the weapons used in many Marshall Arts are fashioned from farming implements; making plowshares an even more powerful metaphor of God's promised Peace.
The discipline and confidence training in Marshall Arts can bring is great. But skill in self-defense is not as valuable a tool for building confidence or making peace, as being taught to respect and accept the other, because they-like you- are made in God's image. There are many more students on campus who have Marshall Arts training than have experienced Sunday school. It is up to the chaplain, and most effectively, the student leaders in Lutheran Campus Ministry to walk with students, whose confidence may be lagging or whose hearts are far from peaceful, and show them unconditional acceptance. And when the right moment comes to put into words the great love God has for them.
The campus is a very strategic mission field because young adults are there in large numbers with the task of choosing their life's work and the values that will influence the commitments they make throughout their lives.
Please pray for our mission on campus, that we may have the courage and creativity of St. Paul. May we all be inspired by this story to walk with our brothers and sisters, engage them in dialogue, and give witness to the Love of God revealed in the life, death and resurrection, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
© Copyright 2017 Upstate New York Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. All Rights Reserved.
22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For 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. 24The 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, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From 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, 27so 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. 28For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
***We are in need of Ushers this Sunday, May 21st .
***PERSONAL CARE KIT CHALLENGE - The challenge was accepted by our congregation to complete 22 Lutheran World Relief Personal Care Kits in one week’s time. We are happy to report that we made the challenge! Thank you to all who contributed.
***This Sunday, May 21st at 3:00 pm, Bishop John Macholz will have a presentation at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 556, E. Second St., Jamestown. All are invited to attend.
***Stay connected with Pastor Ivy by calling the parsonage 386-1022, cell phone 904-0855 (calling or texting), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending a card to her mailing address: P. O. Box 43, Bemus Point, NY 14712. Call in advance and arrange a visit!
***Save can tabs from aluminum cans - add to the collection basket in the narthex so they can be taken to Synod Assembly.
***Healthy Bones Exercise Class meets in the fellowship hall at St. Timothy’s on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00 am. This session runs through June 14.
***Bemus Point Library hosts an evening of discussion regarding quality childcare for parents and caregivers of young children.
All parents want the best child care available for their children so they can go to work, worry-free, trusting that their children are safe and cared for lovingly. But when young parents are faced with this search, where should they start? What does a concerned parent look for when choosing in-home childcare or center based childcare?
Ms. Beth Starks, Director of Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center, will provide an educational and interactive presentation about making one of the most important decisions in your children’s life on Thursday, May 25th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Bemus Point Library.
▪ for our community of faith as we seek to do God’s work in the world.
▪ for those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness,
financial burdens, and family obligation.
▪ for victims of violence and their families in all places.
· for Pastor Ivy Gauvin, Marilyn See, Gloria Gardner, Bob & Audrey Markwart, Al Lamb, Eleanor Burgeson Orman, Arden Johnson, Ralph Prieur, Todd Reel, Helen Cogliano, Joanne Aron, JoLynn Stearns, Scott Stearns, Zachary Frazier, Maj-Britt Traynor, Matt Isaacson, Sandra Kelderhouse and Thom Shagla.
▪ People serving in the military including Ben Wickerham and their families, those caught up in violence
and war who have no safe home in which to live.
▪ For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who
have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.