Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
“You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.” (Acts 17:22-25a)
In today’s first reading, Paul addressed a crowd of superstitious people. They were a people who covered all the bases. They were pagans, worshiping the gods. “Just in case” they forgot any god, in order not to infuriate that god, they even erected an altar to an “unknown god”.
Paul used that opportunity to introduce God to them.
It is something that is seen practically everywhere.
Whenever you watch a sporting event, you can see the players engage in superstitious activity before they perform. You see people in “lucky clothes” when they go out golfing or bowling or fishing. You see people knock on wood or cross their fingers. You see people go out of the way to avoid black cats.
It is humorous.
It is also sad.
Because many of these people are “believers”.
Even though they profess a believe in Jesus, they also “cover the bases” by engaging in superstitious activities.
That appears to be an ingrained part of our human nature. I do not know if we will ever shake it; but, we sure need to try.
Some people are superstitious in their faith lives as well.
I have seen people do their prayers in a certain order so that they get heard. If the order somehow is disrupted, they start at the beginning again.
You can cross your fingers, knock on wood, recite a predetermined number of prayers, or engage in any other kind of activity — or not.
Either way, God is there.
He is watching.
He is listening.
He is ready to come to us in our need.
We do not have to do anything to ensure that.
All we have to do is ask.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t just “cover all the bases” in your prayer life today. Instead, make sure that you make an honest and open connection with the Lord. He is not ‘unknown’. He is truly here.