Daily Office Readings for Tuesday, June 18, 2019: Proper 6
“He said to them, ‘Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25)
From this attempted trickery by the scribes and the chief priests comes a holy response from Jesus. He informs then (and us) to acknowledge money as an economic tool to be used for the material maintenance of our bodies, homes and some creature comforts. So, Jesus encourages the circulation of money as is best for the sustainment of the family and community. There is enough on this planet for everyone to be satisfied.
In the same way, Jesus is saying that money, or the human faces represented on it, or the government that makes it, or the money itself, is not to be an object of worship. We worship God who gave us love, and hearts, and family and friends. So give back into society what society uses to maintain itself, money. But we give to God our souls, our hearts, our minds and even our family and friends. This really brings home the meaning “All Things Come of Thee O Lord, And of Thine Own Have We Given Thee.”
Indeed we need, and should have a place to lay our heads for sleep, and a place to shower and a place to pray. Money pays for our home privacy. The Christian Church started out in homes. The people in whose homes they were, paid for their stay with the emperor’s coin. So their places of prayer were paid for by the emperor’s image. I find this ironically delightful.
Today, our taxes go to pay for the welfare of public workers like teachers, firemen, police officers, post office employees, government office holders and also to feed and care for the needy. This latter group was, and still is, the original calling of the Church. The church is in the world to worship God and take care of the needy, the widows, orphans, the sick, and even those who say there is no God. We are the Church. We do not discriminate. It does take money to do this work. So we find faithful and clever ways to give to the emperor. We give to the emperor by spending it through the stores, and shops and markets and schools that help those in need. I find it very interesting that God came to us in the person of Jesus right at the point that we begin to make roads, have an exchange language (Latin) and make an exchange currency. Very interesting. Seems that God’s plan was to set things up so we could pass the Gospel on.
We give to non-government organizations as well. We try to choose those that more directly help the poor. But it is still the emperor’s money (government made currency) that we do it with. In our parish we have a couple of AA type meetings, and we host a summer lunch feeding program for needy school children. We collect non perishable food items for a back-pack ministry for the public school closest to us. Our Women’s Bible Study raises and sends money to the Heffier project. We have received several thank you notes from them. We participate in the local Operation In As Much chapter. We give food items to our city urban ministry. We are not a large parish by any definition. But we realize what we have is from God and we are thankful.
We try to give back to God our hearts and souls and thanks. And we continually pray for God to guide us in every increasing and loving ways that will fulfill God’s plan of passing on the Gospel.
Let us ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+