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Summary: Lucy said, "On the great cruise ship of life, some people take their deck chairs to the bow. And some people take their deck chairs to the stern. Where do you put your deck chair, Charlie Brown?" Charlie replied "I can't even get my deck chair unfolded."

For those not familiar with an Anglican Service there are four Scripture readings prior to the Message or Homily. Today's assigned readings are: Acts 17:22-34; Psalm 66:7-18; 1 Peter 3:13-22 and John 14:15-21.

In a "Peanuts" strip, ... Charlie Brown and Lucy were discussing ... theology.

Lucy said, ... "On the great cruise ship of life, ... some people ... take their deck chairs ... to the bow.

And some people ... take their deck chairs ... to the stern.

Where do you put your deck chair, ... Charlie Brown?"

Charlie replied, "Lucy, ... I can't even get my deck chair unfolded." (Long Pause)

Beloved ... We are all passengers ... on the ... "great cruise ship ... of life".

We may be moving from the stern ... where we strain our eyes ... over the trackless ocean ... for some sign of ... where we have already been.

To the bow ... where we try to peer ... into the empty distance ahead ... in hope of discovering ... where ... we are going.

And while we do this ... we are searching... we are looking for ... something more.

We are looking for something or someone ... to answer the age-old question: ... "What's it all about?"

What is life all about?

And Weather we realize it or not ... we are truly looking for ... searching for ...God.

Yet like Charlie Brown, .... Many have not opened their deck chair ... many have never fully addressed the question... What's it all about.

They do not know where to place their faith.

They do not even know ... how to get the "deck chairs open."

Paul addressed these same circumstances in Athens in at the Areopagus (Air-E-op-O-lis) ... in the year 50 AD.

This great city of Athens ... was overflowing with people ... who were quote ... "Very Religious".

Discussing philosophies ... and studying religions ... from all points ... of the then known ... world.

In the city, ... there was even a temple dedicated to ... "an unknown god."

They were searching ... but it seems never committing ... and in essence ... "dragging their unopened deck chairs ... from one place to another."

Paul was moved by what he saw ... in this great city of Athens.

He was moved ... by the heaviness ... and emptiness that it brought these people ... in spite of ... all their attempts to be ...... "religious."

They were a... soul-starved people ... "dragging their unopened deck chairs behind them."

Well ... God opened the door for Paul ... and Paul responded.

And he walked through the door ... opened by God ... and shared the Good News of Christ Jesus ... with the people of Athens.

And beloved ... our society is not much different than that in Athens.

Recent research indicates ... that our North American culture today ... compares more closely with that of Paul's time ... than at any other time in history.

And Paul's timeless message ... speaks to us ... in America ... as well.

Paul opens his message with these words: BIBLE "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are ... in every way....... 23 For as I went through the city ... and looked carefully at the objects ... of your worship, ... I found among them an altar ... with the inscription, ... 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, ... this I proclaim to you. END (Acts 17:22-23)

Paul started where the people were... in their spiritual journey.

He used Greek poetry ... and idols ... as points of contact ... with them.

Although the people of Athens ... were constantly seeking after new ideas ... and new truths, ... it was very shallow ... and superficial ... often with no real fixed beliefs.

The Athenians ... were not sure they had all the possibilities covered.

So ... They set up the altar of worship ... to the Unknown god ... just in case ... they missed one.

Even though they did not understand ... they tried to cover the bases. (Pause)

The story is told ... about an Army sergeant ... who was caught near a beach ... by German artillery ... and managed to protect himself ... by moving to the water's edge.

While improving his position with a trench shovel, ... he came upon an ornate crucifix ... the kind that prosperous Italians often hung ... on their bedroom walls.

Two hours later ... in the midst of still another German artillery barrage, ... A United States Chaplain ... rolled into the water beside him.

A moment after that ... a German 88 shell landed ...just ten yards ... up the beach.

The Master Sergeant ... held up the muddy crucifix that he had been clutching for dear life since discovering it.

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