The Altar to an Unknown God

“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” (Saint Paul in the book of Acts speaking to the men of Athens.)

I am afraid most Christians are still worshiping at the Altar of the Unknown God and are ipse facto idol worshipers. The God they claim to serve and worship is not the God of the Bible. They actually have no clue as to who he is and are not willing to spend the effort to find out. They suffer from an overdose of indifference.

I would suggest a careful reading and meditating on the Athanasian Creed. It certainly will bring you face to face with the Triune God whom we are supposed to serve and worship; the awesome, majestic God hidden behind a veil of mystery which we cannot penetrate; we can only stand adore and serve.

One of our staff phoned me the other day and said, “We are in a park near by the grotto of Mother Mary and felt like praying for you.” I felt like screaming; surrounded by the glorious handiwork of God: trees and shrubs and flowers and birds and squirrels – and he needed a statue, never mind how beautiful, to inspire him to pray.

God in Psalm 46 encourages us, “Be still – cease from striving – and know that I am God.” What will make us still and cease from striving? To meditate on a piece of stone, or wood, or metal, or clay – things that have eyes and cannot see; ears and cannot hear; feet and cannot walk?  Should we not meditate on his power and wisdom and splendor as displayed by nature? Should we not meditate on the attributes of God which like precious stones are scattered throughout the Bible or listen to the hymn writers of old as they extol them:

To know who our God is, the God who demands our allegiance and has the power to still our heart; we should meditate on the attributes of God like …

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.

All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

To shake us out of our indifference it might do us good to heed the warning attached to the Athanasian Creed:

“Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic (universal not Roman Catholic) faith; which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”


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