On the 5th of May, 1943. Japan was chosen as the target of choice for the first atomic bombs.
By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent.
6th August, 1945
Little Boy exploded at Hiroshima.
Another day in the city of Nagasaki.
But someone on the ground, glancing up into a brief opening in the clouds might have spotted two airplanes, so high - 30,000 feet - that they were of no consequence.
Having leprosy isn’t easy.
I haven’t had this life as long as my friends - my “misery loves company” friends, nine of them. One of them is an oddball - he’s actually a Samaritan. Never spoke to a Samaritan in my life before this happened.
Paul is in Athens, at the Areopagus, also known as Mars’ Hill. He saw a shrine to an “unknown god”. And he begins to speak to the people, to tell them that he can give them answers, that the “unknown god” can become the “known God” - that the people can come to know God, and come to know Jesus’ way in the world.
He has something to tell the people, starting with where they are at, and what he has to tell them is something they want to know - just they had not known about it before.
You are Saul. That is one of your names - it is your Jewish name, if you wish. You have another name too, but it will be used more later in life.
As a child, you grow up as the son of a Pharisee - you grow up in the strict orthodox Pharasaic tradition. You know the rules and the regulations, and you expect to follow them. And others should follow them too.
Truly, as you say later, a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee.
God is the for us to follow.
Not some other set of values.
We are not to follow the shepherd of the materialistic society around us.
We are not to be shepherded by the innundation of advertizing that pushes us this way and that.
We are not to be misled by the words of those who would have us follow their values that are not in harmony with God’s ways.
Last Sunday we started hearing the Easter account from the Gospel of John. The accounts vary a little bit in detail from Gospel to Gospel, but this year, given the choice between Matthew and John, I happened to choose John.
Today we heard part of the story from Genesis about Adam and Eve. First off, let’s be clear: I am not approaching this text as history, but as theology. It was not meant to tell us a chronological series of events, but it was written to tell us about God. And, in the reading today, it was written to tell us about: us.
I’ve said it before, but let me repeat: Life in Galilee was pretty harsh in Jesus’ day.
Just to begin: The Roman soldiers had a lot of power. Frequently they would randomly point to someone - maybe you. “Hey, you,” they would bark, “It’s your turn to give a hand. Here’s my pack.... you’re going to carry it. One mile. Now.” And that was would you would do. Because that was the law. And then they would tell someone else to carry it, and on it went.