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In this passage, Jesus asks to see the coin used to pay the taxes to the emperor. He asks what image is on the coin and counsels to “Give . . . to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Earlier in this...
Holy One, creator of the universe, creator of us, you lovingly formed us in your image at the dawn of creation. We are beloved children of yours, and you love us more than we can imagine. We are astounded at the possibility that you carry our picture written on your heart. We are beloved children of yours, the one who created us and loves us no matter who we are or what we have done. Create in us desire to serve you, to love you with all our hearts, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Amen.
Popular images often portray God as a passive grandfather figure. However, this is not the picture scripture provides. God’s presence has a profound impact on the physical world. In Exodus, Moses feels insecure about the calling on his life and asks to see God’s glory. God in part grants this request, but no one can experience the presence of God completely and live. The psalmist describes how God is exalted and how God’s holiness shakes the earth itself. The New Testament readings explore different themes. Paul opens his letter to the Thessalonians by commending them for their faith and partnership in the spreading of the gospel. In Matthew, the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus in his words, yet he confounds their efforts.
Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you struggled to believe that God is with you? How did you find a sign of God’s presence?
Read Psalm 99. How has God heard your cry? How can you listen with God for the cries of others?
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. When does your faith call you to live in a countercultural way? How do you show the world how to live?
Read Matthew 22:15-22. You belong to God. How do you feel God’s call on your life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”