Strange Ideas?

Acts 14. 19-27

If we had a time machine and were able to travel back 100 years to the year 1917 what would life be

like?

If we arrived at that time with a computer – I wonder what the people of that age thought?

What about taking a washing machine back in time, something nearly all households now have – what would they think?

These would all be strange ideas…

Think about the people of Athens, they were clever, they chose to debate different philosophies, but when Paul began to talk about Jesus, they just couldn’t understand – and asked him to explain. They understood the concept of a God, but it was a god they worshiped with gold and silver idols.

The God Paul talked about who had a son Jesus who was crucified and rose again was a completely strange and a bit unbelievable. As was a God who didn’t want or need anything but your worship.

Paul stated.

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”


These ideas were as far from their minds as computers to those in the year 1900.

But some of the people from Athens listened not only with their minds but also with their hearts and they believed and wanted to know more from Paul.

Today Paul’s ideas are still strange to some people – Jesus is crucified and then resurrected? It goes against what we know.

But when we look back at history I think it helps us understand how the people of Athens felt.

If we think about Albert Einstein – In 1905 he wrote four papers on things that people really couldn’t understand because he was so ahead of his time. I think of him like Paul, really having to explain himself. Eventually they understood, like Paul eventually people understood his strange ideas.

If we were transported back to the year 1900 what was life like?

The 1900’s were quite a smelly age, as only the wealthy could afford to wear clean clothes every day.

How many of you have a toilet in your house? I wonder if any of you have more than one? I do. Unless you were very wealthy you wouldn’t have had an indoor toilet. Poor people would have had to share a toilet with the whole street.. imagine if you were desperate in the night?

Whether you were a servant, a factory worker, or an office worker – you worked long hours for little pay and you would only get Sunday’s off.

Only boys went to school. A girl from the middle classes were taught by a governess the skills to catch a husband.

Women weren’t expected to understand about politics, and they didn’t have the right to have a say in the way the country was run. They weren’t allowed to vote. The Suffragette movement was started to fight for the rights of women.

We take a lot of the things that people in the 1900’s would have found very strange for granted.

Today, we wear clean clothes – it’s easy to wash them, we just pop them in the washing machine.

Today many of us have more than 1 toilet and take hygiene very seriously.

Most people today, not only get weekends off or equivalent but also are allowed to take holiday.

Today boys and girls go to school and in education have equal opportunities.

Women today are allowed to vote.

I wonder what we would have to do without if we lived a hundred years ago?

When were these things invented? See if you can match the dates to the inventions: (they are mixed up)

Mobile Phone
                    1924
First commercial flight
                    1928
Computers
                    1984
Internet
                    1915
Television
                    1971
Cars
                    1924
Films with sound           
                    1908
The word ‘teenager’                    
                    1961
Space flight
                    1919



Perhaps you could make it into a game and put the dates and inventions on separate cards and send the children off to find the correct year they were invented.

Inventions evolved rather than arrived with the things that we know now.

For example; there were lots of cars that were invented between 1886 and 1908 but it was in 1908 that cars were available to everyone that had the money to buy them.

The first flight was 45 minutes long in 1903 – but it took years before the commercial flights were taking place in 1919, and even longer before Jumbo jets as they were nicknamed; first flew their commercial flight in 1970, then of course we had Concorde 1969, which then had it’s last flight 2003.

Technology continues to evolve and so does travel, I wonder what another hundred years will bring?

If we arrived in April 2116, I wonder what life would be like?

I wonder what strange ideas that we couldn’t possibly understand now, will just be every day then..

And I wonder if Jesus’ death and resurrection will still be a strange idea to the people in 2116? And I wonder would they believe you when you tried to explain it?
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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