One of my favorite windows at First Christian Church in Portland, Oregon, carries the title “St. Paul at Athens.” It depicts an occasion reported in the seventeenth chapter of Acts when Paul and his companions were visiting this proud, ancient city. Although political and economic power radiated from Rome, classic intellectual and religious culture were centered in Athens.
The window shows Paul standing on an open platform with his left arm stretched high and his right hand reaching out to his listeners, with the Acropolis in the background. The only way we can see the window is by viewing the picture on page 78 of the book, Stained Glass Windows of First Christian Church, because it is one of many that have been in storage due to remodeling that has been done in earlier times.
In this sermon (July 3, 2016), I want to bring Paul to the south park blocks here in Portland and ask him to update his sermon. If he were to preach two sermons to us—one on how Christians should act in their political lives today and the other on how we should respond to the welter of intellectual and religious currents of our time—what would he say? Of course, no one knows how the church’s first theologian would respond to modern America, but I want to suggest some possibilities. Since tomorrow is one of our nation’s major political holidays, my sermon today speaks to the relationship between Christian faith and citizenship. Read more . . . . St. Paul in the Park Blocks