8.15.2007

Better Than Artemis

You can infer a lot about the readers of the apostle Paul's letters
from the topics he concentrates on. I'm in the middle of his letter
to the church in Ephesus, and I can tell that this must have been a
place in which people were wrestling with issues of race (Jew vs.
Gentile) and grace (being justified before God by our good works vs.
His free choice).

And most of all, that the people needed to hear that there was One to
worship that was better than Artemis. The local goddess was a
prominent part of that region's spiritual, social, and even economic
life, widely and lavishly worshiped by resident and tourist alike.

Hence, Paul's incessant use of superlatives - God's surpassing
greatness, His glorious grace. These descriptors are no less true
today, nor is our need to hear them amidst the fervently worshiped
idols in our midst.

Like 1st century Ephesus, our modern-day cities are intersections of
many world views, vast material resources, and much political power.
But there is still one God who is better and greater and grander than
them all.

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