Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Caesar's and God's

Bridegroom Matins last night. Lots of things to think about, not the least of which was the wonderful troparion which we will sing tonight as well:
Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
And blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching,
And again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep,
Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God!
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!
But what really struck me was the gospel reading from Matt. 22, specifically the Pharisees' disciples' question in verses 17-21:
17. "Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
18. But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?
19. "Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius.
20. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?"
21. They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
I'm probably really slow to several of you who read this--some huge Church Father has probably already commented on this ad nauseum--but I was blown away by the idea that you give that which carries an image and inscription to him (or Him) whose image and inscription they are. So the money, which bore the image and inscription of Caesar, was rightfully to go to Caesar. But we--who are made in the image of God and bear His name--are to be given to God. He is our rightful owner.

I can hear you know...DUH, right?! Funny how you hear the same verse your whole life--I just looked at it as a divine command regarding your money, to pay your taxes and tithe--and then, all of a sudden, bam.

Yeah. Bridegroom Matins. Good times.

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