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Advent Meditation: Wednesday, December 5By Jared Houze
Psalm 119: 1–24; 12, 13, 14 • Isaiah 2:1–11 • Luke 20:19–26
Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. (Luke 20:25)
We all know that one. For better or worse, this is one of those oft-quoted Jesus lines. But he’s trying to show us something more than a paradigm of church and state politics. He’s trying to teach us something about image.
“Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” they ask. But Jesus sees through their trick question hidden behind flattery: “Who’s got a coin?”
He flips the coin in the air and smacks it on the back of his hand. On one side, it reads, “Son of the Divine Caesar,” and on the other, “Our Great High Priest.” Irony at its best. Jesus, the image of God, in whom all the fullness of God is pleased to dwell, looks at this little coin with this little image of a face claiming godlike status. And he asks, “Whose image is this?”
“That’s the emperor’s. That’s Caesar’s.”
“Well, he can have it.” Caesar can have his measly tribute, he can have a coin bearing his image. But you bear the image of God. Caesar wants your tax; God wants your life.
Then Jesus tossed the coin to some snotty-nosed kid. Told him to go buy a couple ice cream cones. He bought baseball cards instead.
The image of God is not depicted on gold, but is imaged in humanity and created in love.
—Severus of Antioch
The Rev. Jared Houze, ’13
All Saints Episcopal Church, Colorado City, Texas
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Sweetwater, Texas
Listen to Jared read his meditation and prayer:
The Rev. Jared Houze was born and raised in Texas and now serves two mission churches in the Diocese of Northwest Texas. He and his wife, Ericka, spend most of their time raising their three children and running an independent bookstore and beer joint called Argos.
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