Athens was the intellectual, cultural and idolatry capital of the Roman Empire, at the time of the book of Acts. When we think of Athens, we think of beautiful, enduring structures like the Parthenon, a temple to the goddess Athena. As Paul arrived in the city, during the first century, he was deeply moved by the number of idols, representing a variety of gods. There was even an altar with an inscription, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” The Athenians wanted to be certain they covered all the basis by recognizing all the gods they could think of, and even the one they may not have.
As I prepare this week’s sermon, I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the number of ways in which Athens is like the world we live in today. Every one of us is worshiping something or, maybe I should say, several things at once. The things we worship aren’t necessarily bad, in themselves, but what’s scary is that we don’t even recognize we are worshiping them. Like the Athenians, we don’t recognize either the power they have over us or the burdens they lay upon us. How do we find true freedom? What, in this world, is worthy of our worship? Find out this Sunday as we consider these things and others.