Friday, November 4, 2016

Bishop’s Note: November 03, 2016 – Subject to Authority

Bishop Eric Menees

This past Sunday I had the honor of being with the brothers and sisters at St. Mark’s, Loomis. At St. Mark's we used the 1928 BCP, and the gospel lesson was taken from the 22nd Chapter of Matthew – that famous scene where the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question about paying taxes. Everyone remembers Jesus’ words: “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” (Matthew 22:21 ESV)

 Over the year’s, I’ve preached on this scripture giving the traditional stewardship interpretation: that we are to pay our taxes, but we are to give the first fruits of our treasure, time, and talent to God and His Church. I believe this, and I live this and have been blessed beyond measure by this traditional understanding of the scripture.

However, this teaching of Jesus speaks deeper to the Christian’s responsibility to Authority. This is an important teaching in our current political environment. Romans chapter 13 is clear that as Christians we are to submit to authority, trusting in God’s sovereignty. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1 ESV) Let us remember next week on November 9th when more than 50% of the populous is disappointed or outright appalled at the results of the election. Whichever candidate is elected, we are to respect the authority given him or her, and to respect the office. Of course, this is true at every level of government, from the Federal government, to the local cop on the beat or teacher in the classroom.

We can do this as Christians because our greatest loyalty – our greatest submission – is to Jesus Christ, the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And we demonstrate our submission to Jesus by seeking to fulfill the Great Commandment. Jesus said; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV) If we set the fulfillment of the Great Commandment as our highest ideal, guess what! We will, indeed, “render to Caesar what is Caesar's,” and we will respect authority and respond to Jesus’ love of us.

I pray you all a very blessed week – and don’t forget to vote!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion
I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

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