Render to Caesar...Render to God
"And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at Him."
A familiar text. And one that I always smiled and thought: 'Way to go Jesus! You got them again.' - and went on to the next verse.
This past Sunday my pastor preached on this passage and opened it up in a way I had never considered. The coin that they brought to show Jesus as He asked, the denarius, was pressed on one side the picture of Caesar and the inscription under identified him as the "son of the divine". Jesus asks who's picture is on it, and given the response "Caesar's" Jesus tells them to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.
What does God have to do with Roman taxes paid to Caesar? Why did Jesus include that last phrase?
In Genesis, man was made in God's image. (Gen 1:26-27) His image is pressed into us.
We are like the coins - except we have God's image pressed into us not Caesar's.
Jesus is telling us to render ourselves to God...
Because we are His. Bought with the blood of Christ.
God is good and faithful
By virtue of the fact that my car was blocking my husband Tom's in the driveway, we drove my car to church today.
Later in the afternoon we drove it again to prayer meeting. On our way Tom, who drove, noticed the alignment of my car was pulling to the right. I thought it must have been knocked out when I went over a particularly high speed bump at 6mph instead of 5 - literally.
I decided I wanted to drive home. I had the option of going local or the Expressway. Because of where we had parked Tom suggested local. O.k - sure, it's prettier that way anyway. I like babying my accelerator to save on the gas mileage - so I didn't really mind that I'm stuck behind a slowpoke.
The closer we get to home the more my car alignment is pulling to the right. Also there is a weird squeaking coming from the foot pedals. I remember that a few days ago I'd thought that right front tire was low. We decide to check it just as we get to the house. Oh yeah. It's REALLY low. Tom and I drive it a couple blocks to the nearest gas station and fill it with air. I'll take my car in tomorrow and have it patched. (I found where there is a nail in it)
On the way home I thought back over the day how God was gracious to us.
*The traffic was slow on the Expressway on our way to prayer meeting.
*I like to baby my accelerator.
*We went local streets on our way home.
*The air was free at the gas station.
If we had not taken my car today I would possibly not have noticed the leak until after I was at the college tomorrow. Or on the way to the college.
I have a very thankful heart this evening.
The poetry to a couple of musical works I will be performing this semester.
ISRAFEL (Edgar Allan Poe)
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
"Whose heart-strings are a lute;"
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
Of his voice, all mute.
In her highest noon,
The enamoured moon
Blushes with love,
While, to listen, the red levin
(With the rapid Pleiads, even,
Which were seven,)
Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir
And the other listening things)
That Israfeli's fire
Is owing to that lyre
By which he sits and sings-
The trembling living wire
Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod,
Where deep thoughts are a duty-
Where Love's a grown-up God-
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.
[Therefore thou art not wrong,
Israfeli, who despisest
An unimpassioned song;
To thee the laurels belong,
Best bard, because the wisest!
Merrily live, and long!] Stanza omitted from the work
The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit-
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
With the fervour of thy lute-
Well may the stars be mute!
Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
Is a world of sweets and sours;
Our flowers are merely - flowers,
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.FERN HILL (Dylan Thomas)
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the night jars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
Withe the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under th new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.