A short reading and prayers for today
When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Acts 17:32-34 NLT
Paul received a complete range of reactions to his speech to the Areopagus. Some laughed, others wanted to hear more and yet others became believers. You couldn’t get a more varied response than that! First of all there were those who laughed with contempt. They found the idea of the resurrection absurd. It is never pleasant to be laughed at, but Paul knew that the Christian message will always seem ridiculous to some people. He spoke about this at length when he wrote to the church in Corinth. If you have a partner, children or colleagues who find your faith a complete joke it is very tiring and discouraging. I pray that you will find grace and strength to cope and also Christian friends who can support you.
Other people were sufficiently stimulated by Paul’s message to want to hear more from him at a later date. When people first hear the Christian message, it often comes as such a surprise that they don’t know how to take it all on board. They need time to stop and reflect. I have known some people who took decades to reflect on the Good News before they finally decided to follow Jesus. We need to be very patient and continually willing to talk with people about their questions and doubts.
And, finally, some people believed. Amongst them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus. How thrilled Paul must have been that one of the members of this distinguished body should make a commitment to follow Christ. And remember that Paul had never intended to be in Athens at all! He was merely kicking his heels for a few days whilst Silas and Timothy caught up with him. Paul’s eagerness to share the Good News of Jesus was unceasing.
How would you support someone who was being mocked for their faith?
Lord God, help me to share your Good News whatever the reaction. Amen
Lord God, friend of those in need, your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits. We lift up the prayers of our hearts for those still burdened, those seeking healing, those in need within the church and the world. Hear our prayers that we may love you with our whole being and willingly share the concerns of our neighbours. Amen.
Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts in compassion and receive these petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world. Holy One, hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards of the fragile bounty of this earth so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven. Amen.