THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

As followers of Jesus who believe in the way of Jesus, it can be tempting to try and impose our view of the world and our standards of behaviour on others. Some branches of Christianity even try to infiltrate social and political structures in order to take them over for Jesus. But, when we do this, we mistake the kingdom of God for the kingdoms of this world, and we turn Jesus into another Caesar. Our task is not to win control over the systems of power in our world. Our job is to follow a completely different path, to embrace a completely different version of power, and to follow Christ in the midst of a world that does not yet manifest God’s Reign to the full. And, while we hope and pray for the day when God’s Reign is fully revealed in our world, we recognise that only God can bring this into being.

On a smaller scale, we also wrestle with the temptation to confuse God’s kingdom with our own little kingdoms. We may seek to become Caesars over those around us, convinced that if they just did what we said they and we would be much happier. Or we may make certain people, ideas, or organisations like Caesars to us, following them with blind obedience. Even though we do need to make commitments to families, employers, and churches, our primary devotion is to God, and it is God’s values and priorities that must take precedence even as we live in these other social groups. So, while we need to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar” we must always be careful to “give to God what belongs to God.”

This week we meditate on what it means to live as citizens of God’s Reign in Caesar’s world.

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