From the Pastor’s Desk
Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Oct 22, 2023
“Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
Brothers and Sisters,
What do you think of your mugshot? In this “Age of the Selfie,” some of us collect thousands of them while others do their best to avoid the camera lens altogether. For me, picture-taking is like hearing a recording of my voice; it feels awkward. While logic tells me I am no longer growing, it always seems my forehead is getting larger.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus navigates a “trap” set by the Pharisees, who presumed to have cornered him with a fallacy that there are only two moral choices regarding taxation. The Pharisees know that if Jesus answers that taxes are unethical, he will be at odds with the Romans. Still, if he acknowledges the validity of taxes, Jesus’ authority comes into question. But Jesus shows them (and us) why placing ourselves in a box is dangerous when making decisions, especially when a “yes” or “no” answer is not possible. And while Jesus’ answer validates taxes (sorry to all my anarchists, brothers, and sisters), the crux of his message regards something much bigger: our very being! We are created in the image and likeness of God. So, every selfie we’ve snapped or camera lens we’ve smiled back at, those resulting images are imprints of God’s image. We owe everything to our Lord, our very likeness, and our very lives. We must make our lives an offering to the Lord.
As I prepare to deliver the annual stewardship update next weekend, I want to say, “Thank you.” Above all, thank you for giving yourself to the Lord in your discipline of prayer and worship, your attentiveness to the service to your neighbors, and your eagerness to learn and grow as disciples. Your generosity allows our parish to thrive! I appreciate all the many ways you give of yourselves and offer generously to support our good works. As this weekend marks the annual World Mission Sunday, celebrating the spread of the Gospel, I’m also grateful for the many ways our parish lives up to the theme: Hearts on Fire, Feet on the Move.
My gratitude is also to our music director, Eli, who is sending a personal message about the value of organ donation. Please pray for a fellow parishioner in need of a living donor for a kidney – check out www.UMMCLivingDonor.org.
Lastly, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with Project Rachel, a ministry dedicated to those wounded after an abortion. Please pray for the upcoming weekend, November 10-12, and those who are participating. If you or someone you know is searching for confidential, non-judgmental help (whether women, men, grandparents, siblings, family, or friends), reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (410)625-8491 or text (410)299-9345.