Greetings my NHCBC family! This week we travel with Paul to Athens in the book of Acts. The Living Spirit has created this ripe moment from the beginning of time to open up the hearts of the men of Athens. God uses Paul’s education and life experiences to be the bridge that connects this foreign culture to a loving God. And like Paul we may find ourselves in an alien place to do God’s work.
Paul’s lawyer background has taught him to know his audience and find common ground. This is a consistent thread in his speech and in verse 28 he even quotes “Hymn to Zeus” by Cleanthes, the head of the Greek Stoic school. Paul does not dismiss the men of Athens but instead uses their tactics of reason to bring the good news to them.
This week’s hymn echoes a similar path of Paul. “In Christ there is No East or West” started as a poem, then was morphed into a send off hymn for missionaries and then finally adapted as a hymn to celebrate unity in Christ. Did the original poet know what God had planned for the text he placed on paper? Did the composer know that God would use this banner song would be found in most hymnals 200 years later? What plans has Christ laid out for this song in the future? What we do know is that by trusting in the grace, love and mercy of Christ we can proclaim the good news from anywhere we go because the Spirit has prepared us and is with us.inchristthereisnoeastorwest