Countenances
2008-10-17 by Stephen Schuette

A little tidbit… The line translated in the NRSV “you do not regard people with partiality” is literally “you don’t pay attention to human countenance or face” in the Greek.

     Certainly Jesus hasn’t shown their “faces” any deference in the preceding exchanges in Matthew.  So the question is put to test whether Jesus would show any deference to Caesar.  That Jesus responds by referring to the “image” on the coin affirms, indeed, that he is not interested in showing deference in regard to countenances.  But the real point, I think, is whether the Pharisees see whose image Jesus reflects, and through Jesus see any insight into whose image they bear in their souls.  I’m thrown back, again, to seeing Jesus and to the challenge of self reflection.

That these “images” bear several levels of meaning in the story is part of the richness to be found in this very packed exchange.  There are many ways to faithfully preach this!





Ron Allen
2008-10-17 by David von Schlichten

I was just revisiting Ron Allen's intelligent, sound thoughts on preaching about the election. His essay is full of solid wisdom about guiding people to consider theologically who is the best candidate for helping to do God's work and realize God's vision for us.

In a time when many of us are campaign-weary and jaded regarding politicians, Ron Allen's piece can revive us and wipe the scales of cynicism from our eyes.

You will find that article by clicking on Share It!

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Thanks and the Three Cs
2008-10-17 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Steve, Tom and our guest blogger Buran Phillips for their hydrating blog entries this week. Please scroll down to soak them up.

Also, be sure to offer guidance for Joe the Preacher. See below.

I will be preaching on Cyrus, Caesar and the Christ and the differences among these political leaders. Caesar was out for idolatry and self-aggrandizement; Cyrus, despite not knowing God, still managed to be a messiah; and the Christ is the ruler, the savior, to whom everything ultimately belongs.

I won't tie all this explicitly to the upcoming election; parishioners will do this without me doing it for them. (I generally try not to say from the pulpit what I know people will figure out for themselves.)

Toweling off and typing on, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Joe the Preacher
2008-10-16 by CJ Teets

A pastor named Joe has a question in the Parish Solution Forum. Preach on the economy, preacher? Go to HomePage and Share It! to give Joe the Preacher some feedback.

Go to HOMEPAGE and Share It! to read Ron Allen's thoughts on preaching during this election season.

Also, check out the new material for All Saints' Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Advent in UNLECTIONARY.

 





Now You See Him
2008-10-14 by Steve Schuette

    Sometimes a good deal is made about Jesus needing to ask for a coin suggesting he’s outside of the economic mainstream, living by other values and means.  Probably true.  Strikes me, however (and I’m willing to acknowledge this angle is fraught with modern images projected backward), that it’s a good lead into a magic act.  “Does anyone have a coin?  Now watch closely...”  As the setting is one of entrapment and seeking to kill Jesus it is reminiscent of another story, although from Luke, where his hometown neighbors try to hurl him off the cliff but Jesus magically “passed through the midst of them...”  Now you see it/him, now you don’t...
    But what may appear to the non-believer and the stunned Pharisees to be magic is nothing of the sort.  While those representing party politics are engaged a debate in which deceptive answers variously hide and reveal certain half-truths, Jesus is able to answer, respond, engage, and “teach the way of God in accordance with truth” because he is who he is.  The point isn’t in the coin after all, it’s Jesus.  See him?
    Here is revealed the possibility inherent in the gospel’s affirmation of incarnation, that in the world we can see and know truth that is freeing, liberating, enlightening.   How to live it?  I suspect it has to do with moving in the opposite direction of the Pharisees...rather than scheming to pull a trick it will require looking at our own lives and seeking an authenticity that is grounded in our relationship with God.  So Buran Phillips said below in his comments on Matthew, “What we...get is a call for self-reflection upon our identity as the people of God and what it means to live as God’s people in the world.”  That’s the real magic of Jesus.  See 1 Thes too...




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