The readings for this coming Sunday are Acts 17: 22-31 (Paul’s comments on the statue to the Unknown God in Athens); and 1 Peter 3: 13-22 (keep determined in the face of opposition; parallel between Noah and baptism).
Paul proclaimed to the Athenians that the Unknown God they acknowledge is the true God: they do not need to worship statues carved out of stone or wood. He stated that this true God has already appointed the judge of the human race, confirmed by being raised from the dead. As a result the crowd split into those who laughed at him, those being entertained by him, and a few who believed him.
As a person who believes God’s metaphorical hand has touched everything that is, we meet God in ways as surprising to us as a statue to an unknown God in a foreign city. Events, things around us, and people can touch us at times in ways that can jolt or carry us into a different space. A person in Washington, D. C., attended a church where members were expected to be engaged in mission. When stopped by a beggar on the street, she got into a conversation with the beggar. Through that encounter, she felt God inviting her into a mission that ended in the creation of housing for people with addictions that included support services. A 6 year-old girl in Winnipeg saw a homeless man dumpster diving, asked her mother why, and founded the Ladybug Foundation.
A sunset, a tiny flower in bloom, beautiful music and so many other things and events can slip past our intellectual defenses against change, and be touched and changed inside in remarkable ways.
My hope is that you have had and will have encounters with God on your road through life that provide special blessings.