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Sunday, September 20, 2009

One blood, groping for the Nearness

Today's sermon came from Acts 17.  Paul's sermon in Athens is a pretty amazing example of crossing culture and presenting God.  We are all of one blood, all looking for the same thing.  But we grope in the dark, worshiping what we do not know.  Yet God is near, all around us, findable.  He does not overwhelm but leaves humans to seek and choose.  

Musunguzi preached on the same pattern.  He talked about how Africans, like ancient Greeks, approach the unseen spiritual world with shrines and ceremonies, seeking what they do not know.  It is rare to hear someone describe witchcraft as a first-hand witness, but he did, telling stories of the clan shrine to the ancestors that he visited regularly with his family, offering a rooster as appeasement to the spirits.  Later, a windstorm blew the huge tree which marked the shrine down.  And his father had to make a choice:  to rebuild, or to see the presence of a more powerful God in the wind.  He chose the latter, the unseen God whom we worship but can not manipulate.  Then Musunguzi boldly challenged the congregation to grope for God, to trust the Creator rather than resorting to witchcraft, or to education or money, the new idols of Africa (and everywhere!).  It was the kind of sermon an American can not preach with nearly the same authenticity.  

I left thankful for the one blood which makes us all seekers, for the shared journey to approach the unseen God, for the truth with which He gently awakens us to His presence all around us.  The "Unknown God" is Near, and Knowable.

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