Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Weekly Moravian Message: October 22, 2017

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost — October 22, 2017

Responding in Faith or Fear

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21).

In the United States, Tax Day is a colloquial term for the day individual income tax returns are due. Many have complied consistently with the requirements of this day through a sense of duty, some for fear of consequences if they don’t. Likewise, in Jesus’ time folks were familiar with the temple levy, as well as Rome’s general restrictions on personal and spiritual liberties. Since people knew what was expected, they did not resist, especially because penalties for doing so were often severe and swift. One could be imprisoned or, worse, mocked and killed for civil noncompliance.

When it came to responding to Caesar with what was Caesar’s, people had no real self-determination in the matter; they simply had a duty, most likely motivated by anxiety.

Still . . . Jesus knew that the much deeper opportunity for them was thinking through and responding to God with what was God’s. To do this, they had to understand and relate to God in a way that opened their hearts to choice as well. It was being able to say no, and yet at the same time (the potential of . . .) recognizing God’s providence over every moment of their existence.

This is our test as well. Among all the distractions and voices calling for our allegiance, can we remove ourselves long enough to get that wider view which understands that it all comes from and belongs to God? In our freedom to reject, can we respond in faith, rather than duty or fear?

There is no calculation or percentage that works when it comes to responding to God’s love and graces—only our hearts.

Chris Thore, pastor, New Beginnings Moravian Church, Huntersville, North Carolina

 

Moravian Daily Texts

02/21/2018

Wednesday, February 21 — Psalm 28
Genesis 49; Matthew 17:14–27

The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1

Great Protector, with you by our side we shall have nothing to fear. Because of this, we can more freely focus on keeping your words close to our hearts. Weigh upon our minds what you desire us to hear. Amen.

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