This week with elections in several states, we are given the timely Gospel from Matthew 22:15-22, where we hear the familiar words from Jesus, “Render therefore under Caesar the thing's which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
In this Sunday's reading we again see Jesus’ opponents trying to trap him with a trick question, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” If Jesus said “Yes,” He would run afoul of His Jewish followers. If He said “No,” He would risk being branded an outlaw of the Roman Occupation. As is often the case with these attempts to trick Him, Jesus responds with an answer that sends the tricksters scrambling in perplexity: “Render therefore under Caesar the thing's which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
It is a wonderful answer because it disarms an “either/or” inquiry with the sole answer of “Yes.” The answer “Yes” is so confounding to the inquisitors yet so satisfactory because it destroys the limitations of the “either/or” box they try to put Jesus into. “Yes” is the answer because the question is a false dichotomy. “Yes” is the answer because all of our obligations are ultimately to God. In this case our obligations to God are expressed in two kingdoms.
Both the kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of Heaven are of God, and as such both demand our accountability. The kingdom of this world is of God. Jesus uses the word "Caesar" to symbolize the power of the government. In the history of the world there have been many different forms of government, but all are part of the creation, and thus are all a part of God.
In the 19th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says to Pilate: " Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above..." Jesus, being both Divine and human, was subject to the earthly authority which He had given to Pilate.
In his Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul writes 13:1: " Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Clearly, Jesus and Paul recognized Rome as their God-given government. This raises questions about how we are to obey a corrupt or unjust government. There is no clear answer found in this passage, but we know that Our Lord submitted to both Jewish and Roman authorities at his trial and crucifixion.
On the flip side of the coin is the fact that the kingdom of Heaven is of God. Jesus said to the Pharisees and Herodians to render “unto God the things that are God's." What things are God’s? For starters we are! So while we may not always have control over the worldly powers that rule over us, we do have control over how we live under the rule of the heavenly Kingdom of God. How do we start to do this? It is all too easy to live a worldly life most of the week and carry out our “religious duty” on Sundays.
We must each examine our own conscience to see how we can better serve God in this life and in the next. This is not solved by increasing the time given to “religious” duties, which may fairly be called the solution of the Pharisees. God wants our entire life all of the time, which means that he wants our unavoidable worldly life to be conducted on his terms and not those of secular society. There are distinctively Christian duties such as prayer and worship, and these must be performed, but the most useful point to remember is that Christianity is a full-time occupation.
--Fr. Deacon Chris
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Upcoming Services & Events
Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Sunday School at 10:30 AM
Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing (for online participation, check info under Sunday Services)
Vestry Meeting, Monday November 27, 7:30 PM, Church undercroft
Kirkin of the Tartan & Evening Prayer, St. Andrew's Day, Thursday November 30, 7:00 PM,with bagpiper and presentation of tartans followed by a gala reception with Scottish and other foods, Scottish beverages and a great time of fellowship and fun. Please put this on your calendar now and invite family, friends, and neighbors. Sign up sheet to bring items for reception now available on bulletin board in church undercroft.
Each month parishioners provide food for the Christ House food bank and things needed for babies and infants to the local crisis pregnancy center. Donations have really dropped off. St. Andrew & St. Margaret parish has a long history of helping others in the community. Please take a look at the lists below and, if you can, please provide some of the needed items. You can also help by donating money through the secure donation button in this e-letter by selecting Charity & Mercy in the drop down menu on the donation page. Your help is needed. Thank you.
Just Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
In Bold and * are a critical need.
Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment
Fall/Winter Clothing:0-3 mo*, 3-6 mo*, 12-18 mo*, 2T*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Grocery gift cards*
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
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