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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2012

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2012 ********** 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, 2012
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 2, 2012

      **********

      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 plotted to entrap him
      in what he said. 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. Tell
      us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes
      to the emperor, or not?' But Jesus, aware of their
      malice, said, 'Why are you putting me to the test,
      you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.'
      And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to
      them, 'Whose head is this, and whose title?' 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.'
      When they heard this, they were amazed; 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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