Jesus, Caesar, and #metoo

The #metoo movement invaded my social media news feed this last week, and I am grateful for it.

As Rhonda and I spoke about it, we literally could not think of a single female (not just woman, any female) in our lives who couldn't have said "me too" when confronted with the reality of sexual harassment.

"Oh, you were harassed sexually? Me too..." is the reply given by all the women in my life.

And maybe you, too.

Guys: are we listening?

This week's Gospel reading made me reflect a bit on how our faith plays into the way we treat things, especially other bodies. We're kicking off our stewardship campaign this Sunday, and so the pull of the calendar tells me to preach on the stewardship of money.

But I can't, because the calendar of our lives compels me to preach on how the Gospel speaks to how steward our attitudes and our treatment of other people's bodies.

The Gospel lesson for this week, by the way, is Matthew 22:15-22. Go ahead and take a gander before moving on, or the rest of this won't make much sense ( just click here to read it).

Done? Good; onward...

So there are a couple of odd things about this passage.

First, for all you Star Wars fans out there, is that you cannot read or hear this passage without wanting to yell Admiral Ackbar's, "It's a trap!" because the Pharisees "set out to trap" Jesus.

But even more interesting is the fact that it appears a Roman coin was not difficult for Jesus to get in hand at the moment, which probably meant that one of those gathered there was carrying one around, which for an ancient Jewish person was a big faux pas. The coins of the Roman world were, by some strict Jewish laws, considered to be graven images, especially because the Emperor was supposed to be "divine" for the "good Roman" and Caesar's image was on the coin.

Perhaps Jesus, in asking for a coin, was really asking for one of them to admit that they were breaking the first commandment given on Sinai. Remember it? That "I am the Lord your God" commandment? For ancient Jewish persons, that meant you couldn't carry around any other god-like graven images...including those pesky Roman coins that they had to deal with (which is why the money changers in the temple took those coins and changed them into the local currency...it all makes sense now, right?).

But, so, Jesus has this coin in his hand, with a picture of Caesar on it, and says, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's."

There are many and various thoughts about what he meant by this, but for me, I go back to Genesis and recall that day of creation when images like Caesar were gathered up from the dust of the ground and infused with the breath of life.
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This Sunday's Readings
Isaiah 45:1-7
Psalm 96:1-13
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

Lutheran Questions, Lutheran Answers SME - 
9:30-10:30 am in Fellowship Hall  
In this final session, we focus on the question, "What is a synod and why are there so many?"

Interested in Good Shepherd? Want to know more about religion in general? Join us for Way of the Shepherd all-church study this Sunday evening at 6:30-7:30 pm. We'll gather in the Fellowship Hall for food and conversation on the topic "Why Bother Being a Part of a Religion at All?"

Autumn in the Sanctuary   Bring in pumpkins and gourds to decorate the Sanctuary each Sunday. Plastic plates will be available.

Worship on Wednesdays (WOW)  October 25 in Fellowship Hall This monthly worship service is geared towards families with small children but all are welcome! Join us for pizza at 5:15 pm followed by a family-friendly worship at 5:30-6:00 pm.
Joint Catholic-Lutheran Worship Service   Friday, October 27, 7:00 pm at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill

Halloween Coffeehouse at GSLC   Friday, October 27, 7:00-8:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.  Adult and youth helpers are needed to help set up, serve, and clean up for this popular monthly inclusive event featuring entertainment, refreshments, and fellowship for adults of all abilities. Interested in serving? Email coffeehouse@gslchurch.org.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements.
The October edition of The Shepherd's Voice is available  online.

Health and healing  for Jim Stelfox, Cortney Tyson's uncle.

Safekeeping for Lois Walker and Cliff Wilcoxen, traveling to Germany; Jake Edwardson; Nathan Anderson; Emily Graff; Megan Hutzenbuhler; Bryan Lester; Lt. John Gibson III; and Major Anthony Coulter.

Thanksgiving for the 3rd through 5th graders and adults attending BYG this weeked, and for this Sunday's baptism of Jacob Robert Nuffer, son of Joseph and Miriam Nuffer.

For the orphans of Mnene Parish, including Tatenda Nyoni Shiri and Effort Gumbo.

Tatenda is 19 and taking Form 6 classes at Musume High School. Once he completes these classes, he hopes to successfully complete his A-level classes. Passing A-level classes will qualify him for post-secondary education. He joined our mission team at Victoria Falls. His Mail For Mnene partners are the Vitek family and Gerhard Livingston.

Effort is a quiet, calm, poised 20 year old. He is taking Form 4 classes at Neta High School. He is now living with a relative in the village of Neta, a village that is the farthest from the Mnene center. It is a long walk with poor roads. He joined our mission team at Victoria Falls. His Mail For Mnene partner is the Cash family.
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