Rev. Kurt Walker is the Pastor of Chapel Street Congregational, UCC, in Lincoln, RI.
Scripture: Matthew 22:20-22 (NRSV)
Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
Reflection: Who Are You?
When Jesus was approached by critics from the established Church and the puppet State, he knew what they were up to. Jesus knew he wasn’t being asked about whether folks ought to pay their taxes, or not. He knew what they were really asking was: “This coin says Caesar is God. To whom do you belong?”
In times such as these, a little over two weeks before a Presidential election, I’m given lots of reminders that it’s difficult for people of faith to balance our loyalties to the State with our loyalty to God. That cognitive dissonance becomes decidedly more pronounced when some in our society are convinced that one of the candidates on the ballot has been sent by God to save us. It makes sense, this question of fealty, when we come to recognize that we live in a society that continuously asks us to demonstrably proclaim our loyalty to the State. I sometimes wonder, what would it look like if we came together and marched down main street in May, or July, or November, raising up our faithful love for God?
The world relentlessly attempts to tell us who and whose we are. ‘You’re a Republican, a Democrat, a Conservative, a Liberal, an American, an Alien, a Hawk, a Dove, a Citizen, a Socialist!’ As siblings in Christ, we live beyond the pale of these flimsy labels.
So, sure, go ahead, give back to the God in your pocket that which belongs to those who claim to be Gods of this world. What’s that compared to giving back to the one true God that which belongs to the one true God, namely all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind?
Every time we are asked, either implicitly or explicitly, ‘who are you?’, perhaps the best thing we can do is to remember the divine truth that we are, each and every one of us, a chosen child of God, precious and worthy in God’s eyes, called God’s Beloved, and held securely in God’s loving embrace, now and forever more.
Gracious and loving Creator of all that was, is, and will be, remind me that I am yours and you are mine, and that nothing can separate me from you. ~ Amen
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For those grieving for the more than 213,000 victims of the Covid-19 disease
- For George Weavill, who is hospitalized with Covid-19. George served on the historic Rhode Island Conference staff for 45 years
- For the family and friends of the Rev. Charles Irving Cummings, who died on October 2, 2020 at Ticonderoga NY following a long illness. Read his obituary here
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For beautiful fall weekends in New England
Please Pray for the Following SNEUCC Churches:
First Congregational Church of East Hartford, East Hartford, CT
South Congregational Church, East Hartford, CT
Congregational Church of East Hampton, East Hampton, CT
First Church of Christ, Congregational in East Haddam, East Haddam, CT
East Granby Congregational Church, East Granby, CT
Waquoit Congregational Church, East Falmouth, MA
Union Congregational Church, UCC, East Bridgewater, MA
Grace Federated Church, East Boston, MA
The Pilgrim Church of Duxbury, UCC, Duxbury, MA
United Churches of Durham, Durham, CT
First Congregational Church of Dudley, UCC, Dudley, MA
This Week in History:
Oct. 12, 1492 (528 years ago) Italian explorer Christopher Columbus reached "The New World," when his expedition landed in the Bahamas. Many Americans grow up learning that the Americas were “discovered” by Columbus, as if the land was empty prior to his arrival and its indigenous inhabitants were somehow “less than” the explorers. The United Church of Christ General Synod 29 in 2013 voted to repudiate this "Doctrine of Discovery." Learn more here.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
The Rev. Kurt Walker is Pastor of Chapel Street Congregational Church, UCC, in Lincoln, RI.