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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2007

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2007 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2007
      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2007

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
      Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
      devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
      Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Trickery, Caesar, and taxes

      "Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to
      entangle him in his talk. And they sent their
      disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying,
      'Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the
      way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you
      do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then,
      what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to
      Caesar, or not?' But Jesus, aware of their malice,
      said, 'Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?
      Show me the money for the tax.' And they brought
      him a coin. And Jesus said to them, 'Whose
      likeness and inscription is this?' They said,
      'Caesar's.' Then he said to them, 'Render
      therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,
      and to God the things that are God's.' When they
      heard it, they marveled; and they left him and
      went away."
      Matthew 22:15-22

      Political and religious enemies have always made
      strange bedfellows. Normally the Herodians and
      Pharisees did not get along. Their political
      beliefs differed sharply. But they shared a
      common desire to eliminate Jesus and so joined
      forces in a clever trap. First they flattered
      Jesus. Then they asked him a highly charged,
      politically dangerous question about Caesar and
      paying taxes. Their country was under Roman
      rule. If Jesus responded by defying Caesar and
      his oppressive taxation, this would place Jesus
      in very dangerous situation. He could be arrested
      and severely punished as a revolutionary.

      Being no fool, Jesus instantly saw through their
      trickery. He knew their motives and felt their
      deadly hatred. He called their bluff and let
      them know he understood their attempt to trap
      him. What began as a potentially deadly trap
      instantly became one of his most famous sayings.
      "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God
      what is God's."

      People of faith have long struggled to understand
      what it means to be a good citizen even when living
      under the rule of repressive, harsh, and evil
      governments. While honoring God in our lives how
      can we advocate justice and mercy, fight hunger,
      work for world peace, and make the world a better
      place to live? Even when we try to put politics
      aside, what does this teaching mean in our private,
      religious, social, professional, and recreational
      lives? How do we do this as we struggle to pay
      our bills and put food on the table?

      I personally know of no easy answers to these
      questions. A popular question, which asks what
      Jesus would do in various situations, sometimes
      feels simplistic. But I know of no better way
      to begin.

      Our story today concludes with Jesus' enemies
      baffled and astonished by his answer. They leave
      while shaking their heads in dismay and anger.
      But their conflict with him will only intensify.
      They are determined to rid their world of this
      upstart theologian.

      God, teach us to give Caesar what is Caesar's.
      Bless us with the mind of Christ so we may know
      how give you what is yours. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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