And [God] said [to Moses], “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
Give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s… Jesus gives this response to Pharisees and Herodians—uneasy partners who, in fact, do not agree with one another on much of anything, but find commonality in their opposition to this one who threatens their hold on what, in truth, is God’s. In their desire to entrap and neutralize Jesus they find shared aims in their hypocrisy and lust for power.
Even so, there is no clear-cut way to truth. God, in God’s goodness, is gracious and merciful (to whom God will be gracious and merciful). “To whom?” indeed.
So Jesus answers the question—and doesn’t. It seems we must answer it ourselves.
The moment, like our own, leaves much to be desired. Dual and constantly fluctuating allegiance is always a fact of life. What do we owe, and to whom do we owe it? What currencies shall we render in these fraught days? And in what and in whom does our hope and future lie?
Enter into worship.
Readings: Exodus 33:12-3 † Psalm 99 † 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 † Matthew 22:15-22
About the Art: Rambusch Company. Render unto God, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=57749 [retrieved October 9, 2023]. Original source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/genbug/4224456786/ - Laura Gilmore.
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