Has there been a common thread or theme for the readings this week? For me it has been the bold proclamations revealing the primacy of God. In Isaiah we read: "I am the Lord, and there is no other." In the psalm we read: "For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." In First Thessalonians the writer remembers "how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God." And then in the gospel reading, Jesus declares that the primacy of God is both above and greater than any claims offered by Caesar.
In my own mind I have resolved the claims between God and Caesar. Where I find myself with a question in this multicultural world involves our claims for God against the claims being made for Allah, Buddha or by the Anamists. These encounters often find us standing face to face with others who make similar claims. TGIF--we've got the weekend to worry and wonder--or with a God so great is there need to worry or wonder at all?
Dear God, we ask for your promised presence as we work our way through this world. We believe to be created and sustained by your almighty power, Amen.
Matthew 22:15-22 (NRSV)
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.
16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality.
17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?"
18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?
19 Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius.
20 Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?"
21 They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's."
22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.