Gate Pa – October 19th, 2014
(Pentecost 19, 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time)
First Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
Second Reading: 1 Thess 1:1-10
Gospel: Matthew 22: 15-22
What I want to say:
I want to use the Exodus reading to ask, what does the back of God look like? Moses was most concerned about how to be a distinctive people. How does our seeing the back of God help us be distinctive? And using the gospel reading, how to we as people who are shaped by the back of God live in such a way that all creation and all that is in it is honoured and treated as God’s?
What I want to happen:
People to reflect on how our seeing the back of God helps us be distinctive? And how we as people shaped by the back of God live in such a way that all creation and all that is in it is honoured and treated as God’s?
Old Testament and gospel readings are both well known
kind of stories don’t really need listen to or think about
we know what they are about
Story of Moses
one level beautiful story
touches some our deepest insecurities, longings
well, some peoples insecurities/longings
ones I hear as spiritual director
not enough to be known by God
even in our deepest levels
that’s what knowing name is all about
(that can be a little freaky)
want, need to know God
essence of God as encapsulated in name God
want to be certain of God
see, hear God for ourselves
that’s all Moses wanted
to know God
the essence of God
to be certain of God
In this way he thought – Hebrew people could become a distinct people
different from every other people
as their God was different from all other gods.
wonder how many here want that?
to know God
the essence of God
to be certain of God
we might be a distinctive people
Moses was told that he could not
know name God more than he did
I am who I am
I am who I was
I am who I will be
tense of verb hard nail
kind of like God really
not see glory God
- God is inherently mystery and uncertainty
that is what makes God different from all other gods
instead covered in rock as God passed by
he sees back of God
so much debate about what that means
qualities of God abounding where God has been
what is back of God for us?
We are offered Jesus,
who was one of us
yet God Incarnate
reminding us who we are as people made in image of God
reminding us what it means to live as people made in the image of God
abounding with the qualities Jesus lived by.
Jesus is back of God
and as people who live with those qualities
in a way we become the back of God for people of this time?
where do we see the back of God around us?
how are we the back of God?
how does that helps us be distinctive as Moses hoped it would help the Hebrew people be distinctive?
2. Jesus, the Pharisee and the Herodian.
Jesus was in the temple
He had re-entered Jerusalem the day before and immediately threw out the money changers
He was back,
offering his easy yoke
Temple leadership – chief priests and elders asked by what authority he did these things
overturning tables and causing chaos and hardship for money changers
teaching his yoke?
whose Rabbi’s yoke was it anyway?
Jesus asks them question they refuse to answer
and tells stories of two sons, bad tenants and the absent landowner
and wedding feast where those should know better didn’t attend – to their cost
and those not expect to be invited suddenly were on guest list
all too much
something needed to be done
so some Jerusalem leadership –
normally have nothing to do with each other
these were extraordinary times
Pharisees and Herodians
cooked up really good question
"Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don't pander to your students. 17 So tell us honestly: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
full of false flattery
kind question never ask –
Some might wonder by whose law are they talking
Roman law is very clear – don’t even think about not paying
But Torah – law of Moses??
is this bound or loosed by the Law
what does your yoke say about this Jesus?
if say no – well Romans will be all over you –
their Herodian lackeys make sure of that
if say yes
landless populace driven off land because debts accrued paying tax will lose faith in you – Roman puppet
win win for askers
loose loose for Jesus
3. The Answer
Jesus asks calmly for a coin
who is wealthy enough to be carrying around Roman coins?
wealthy Pharisees and Herodians
people complicit in the oppressive Roman economy
and whose image is on it?
Jesus then says
"Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is Gods."
sounds so straight forward
over centuries used by Christians and wealthy and leaders say
church stays out state affairs
not place economics
just concerned with spiritual stuff.
Heard those comments by a current minister crown in regard to Anglican churches statements about Treaty Waitangi
on face it – seems fair enough
so what is Caesars and what is Gods?
4. O Wait
just two tiny problems
and can anyone tell me the first two commandments?
no other God but me?
not make any idols?
if I had a roman coin
what does it say under the image?
"Tiberius, Emperor, son of God."
Where are we? - Temple?
5. What is Gods?
one other little problem
what happens if I turn Jesus answer around
give to God what is God’s
give to Caesar what is Caesars?
what is God’s
and what is Caesars?
as an aside every Jew who heard Jesus answer understood this
no roman would have
so how does that change you answers from before?
how does that change help us be back of God?