From one ancestor God 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, so that they would search for God and perhaps reach out for him and find him – though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your poets have said, For we too are his offspring.” Acts 17:26-28
Ahhhhh, the joys of summer travel! Engaging diverse cultures, hearing strange languages, learning new stories, worshiping in churches that don’t do it like we do it, and tasting foods unlike anything Mom ever made! Oh, the wonder of God’s presence in it all!
In today’s text the Apostle Paul is speaking to the rich cultural mosaic of our world. Having been charged by the Athenians with preaching “foreign gods,” Paul reasserts the Genesis truth about the oneness of humanity — “From one ancestor God made all the nations to inhabit the whole earth.” We are one, Paul says. From one human ancestor we have all come. We are one blood.
But if we are of one blood, what are we to make of the myriad of languages and cultures in our world? What is the meaning of all our ethnic differences that so often divide us?
Notice Paul says that God has a purpose in all of this. It is God who “allotted” the “times” of the nations. It is God who determined the “boundaries where they would live.” It is God who made us different. And God’s purpose Paul says, is “that they might search for God and perhaps reach out for for him and find him – though indeed he is not far from each one of us.”
God is close to all of us. And our differences are designed to lead us to God, to seek after God and to know him. The Creator and Redeemer has revealed himself in all his creation, and his hand is seen in the histories of all nations, cultures, and dialects. Whoever we are, and wherever we are, we can reach out to him and know him, for “in him we live and move and have our being.”
Let us rejoice in a Gospel that knows no bounds, that leads us beyond our fears and divisions to the ends of the earth, and brings us back to the center, to the Gospel center — God so loved the world….
Grace and Peace,
Regular Bible Classes with Tim Smith on
Wednesday, August 26, and September 2
(Noon and 7:00p.m.)
At the Franciscan Renewal Center
(Garces Room of Piper Hall)
A Change is Coming
Beginning September 8
We will move classes to Tuesday