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16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 They said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.”
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
At the moment, across different universities around the country, the Christian Unions are in missions week season. Since the end of January and until the beginning of March, through varying means, groups of Christian students are attempting to make the gospel known on university campuses. Obviously, the challenges of lockdown have meant that they’ve had to change tactic a bit and move events to online platforms. But the great work of bringing the gospel to students still continues.
I remember hearing a talk on these verses from the book of Acts during my time at uni, and the speaker told us that the environment at the marketplace in Athens would have been very similar to that of the university campus. Many different ideas floating about, people of different backgrounds, faiths, beliefs and ideas all mixed together in the same place having intellectual and philosophical discussions with each other. People worshipping many gods, all gods, or no god.
And in these verses, the best news ever, the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ breaks through into the Athenian atmosphere. People who are open and willing to listen to new ideas, people who are so spiritual they are prepared to worship “an unknown God” are confronted with the news of a God who has made himself known to humanity, by becoming one of us.
A God who made the world and everything in it, who gives everyone life, a God who can’t be confined to wood or stone, a God who is not simply an image, and a God who will judge all people by raising the dead, as he raised his son Jesus Christ to save sinners. That is the news every university Christian Union is trying to spread to their campuses.
32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”
Just as in v32-34 of this passage, some will want to hear more and some will sneer and mock. But the mission will continue. They will keep speaking the gospel. They will keep telling people the good news. They will keep fighting the battle. But they need our prayer!
Here is the list of dates for CU mission’s weeks this year as well as the names of some of the students from our church who are there. Be praying for the ones that have already happened, that the follow-up to those weeks will be fruitful and the connections they’ve made with non-Christians will stay strong. Pray for the ones that are still happening this week, that they will end on a high for God’s glory. And pray for the ones still to come, that they would be weeks where more and more students hear about the gospel of the known, personal, glorious God, Jesus Christ.
Bangor, Lancaster, Leeds, Reading, Southampton (Emily Whiffin), Strathclyde, East Anglia, York
Aberdeen, Aston, Brunel, Cambridge (Charis Marshall), Dundee, Glasgow School of Art, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, RCS, Royal Holloway, Surrey (Sam Sarjudeen),
Aberystwyth, Barts - London, Birmingham (Anna Cristin), Kent (My Old Uni!) & Canterbury Christchurch, De Montfort, Exeter, Glasgow Caledonian, Imperial, Keele, Loughborough (Adam Weir), Leicester, Manchester, RNCM, Sutton Bonnington, St Andrews,
Abertay, Bristol, Cardiff, Essex (Jamie Bailey), Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Nottingham (Sarah Gurtler), Sheffield Hallam, Warwick, UCL
Coventry, LSE, Newcastle, Northumbria, Nottingham Trent/Clifton, Sheffield, UWE
Coffee and Chat after the morning service
There will be a chance this Sunday at 11.30 to join other members of BH for a coffee and chat over zoom. Everyone is welcome. You can join via MyChurchsuite or the Church website.
Mental Health Awareness 2021
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We have church services on a Sunday at 8.00am, 10.00am and 6.30pm.