Sermon for 18 Oct 2020

Sermon To Question is the Answer.

A few years ago I decided I should write a song about taxes. The first verse and actually as far as I got is:
“If 10% is good enough for the work that our Lord must do
then 10% should be good enough for Canada Revenue”
So far I haven’t got any government funding to produce it.
The discussion about taxes has always been and still is, a volatile topic. How much should we give to the government? Are they using it right? Etc Etc..
When Jesus was asked about taxation, he replied with a clever statement that has become familiar to many. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s”.
That statement has been used to prove that Jesus was a liberal, a conservative, a socialist, a communist. It has been used to say that we should always obey the government and that we should never obey the government.
We need to understand the context of that moment but also to look at the intent.
When Jesus was young there was a man named Judas the Galilean who started an anti-tax movement in the Roman province of Judea. The Romans had implemented a new tax policy in 6AD which required a census.
(Luke uses this census as the background for his nativity story even though the timing was not right).
Judas’ tax revolt became large and significant when he claimed himself to be the new Messiah and turned the whole debate into a theological issue which he elevated to a military coup against the Romans. Needless to say he was dealt with quickly and brutally.
However the memory of that revolt and the repercussions on the people was still in their minds.
When Jesus was asked, where the taxes should go, there was a lot riding on it.
Normally the Herodians and the Pharisees didn’t work together very well. They would cooperate if there was a national interest at stake which gives us an indication of the stature of Jesus. They were both worried about him challenging their authority. So they came up with a question which they thought was a lose/lose situation for him. They asked him if people should pay taxes or not. If he said yes then the Jewish people would be angry and possibly stone him. He certainly would lose the respect of his followers. If he said no then the Romans could have him jailed or executed for treason.
Jesus cleverly turns the pressure back onto the Pharisees by asking a question. He asks for a coin. Then he asks whose inscription is on it. This coin had Caesars picture on it. That was against their law of idolatry. Theoretically they were not allowed to carry it yet they carried it because they needed it to pay the tax. That is why he called them hypocrites. They had this very strict law but they didn’t obey it when it came to money.
Then Jesus goes on to make that famous statement: Give to Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is God’s, which raises even more questions. What is Caesars and what is God’s?
We could say that the coins belong to Caesar because his imprint is on them but then we could say that everything belongs to God because the imprint of God is on everything.
So often the question is – How does God fit in to the political landscape but maybe we should be asking how does politics fit into God’s world?
It’s not the only question we should ask.
If everything came from God then the Governments are really just stewards of God’s possessions.
So you should be asking.
Why isn’t God’s money being used to produce clean water? Why isn’t it being used to house the homeless and the veterans. Why isn’t it being used to look after the poor and the environment? What are the priorities of the Government – at any time?
These are things that are in God’s interests.
By being clever and asking questions Jesus not only escaped certain death he challenged the government to be more caring and generous.
It is easy to complain about taxes. It is more powerful to ask questions.
God we give thanks for all you have given us. We pray that we may use it in your interest. We pray that we may have the courage to speak without fear, for peace and the rights and dignity of every human person. We pray that justice, love and responsible freedom may be the basis of the social order in the world and in our country, We pray that all humanity may share equitably in the world’s material and spiritual good, and that governments and civic organizations may help and protect the weak and the victims of calamities. God, you love people and people are your concern. Help us share in your care
through your Son who became one of us, Amen.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Gilford Drive through hot roast beef supper On November 18
Thanks to helpers and decorations
Opening Prayer
Hymn – 595 We are Pilgrims
Scripture Matthew 22: 15-22
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn 635 All the Way
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
Info about contributing
The traditional way is to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0
An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)
Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks