Saturday, September 12, 2009

Κύριος Notes


Through many dangers,
toil and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

Scripture Reflection: Luke 20
20Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

Lord, this could have been a time when you spoke freely about politics...but you choose not to speak to the issues of the day at all. You could have been tied up in a debate of whatever the current issues were. There was an insipid and underlying search for messiah at every juncture. There was a nationalistic desire for a home and for a level of free on the part of the people who lived under a bloody and repressive empire that was concerned with taxes and with the survival of the system of Roman law even at the expense of Roman justice.

There were many topics that you could have spoken on...and yet you just told the crowd that day to pay their taxes.

23He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24"Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"
25"Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

This is not the place where you spoke to the need for a tax revolt or of the way in which the Romans were stealing money from Palestine to fund military adventurism in England...or that all of North Africa was being over farmed for the support of the of the Roman crooked system of welfare support. You didn't say any about any of that although it would have been accurate you choose not to.

Why? Because politics are not the point anyway. They are not the way that the world is going to be changed in any significant way. Change is something that comes from the inside out...not from the outside in. So why do I get so focused on the externals of change?

I wonder what you would say in the current health debate, I wonder what you have said to a congressman who accused the president during a speech of lying. Something more than a lack of civility...I think. Maybe something about the need to listen to someone before responding.

I wonder what you have said about the health debate. It is clear that you spend a major part of your energy and time bring health care and spiritual care to the poor. What would you say to the middle class American evangelic church about health care for the poor, and for the working poor? What would you say? ...I doubt that it would be to endorse either side of this acrimonious debate.
Maybe you would say..."Kurt I am going downtown to Congress Park...there are some people who need healing. Do you want to go with me?" I am reasonably sure you would not look for an insurance card before you healed them, nor would you be looking for co-pay.

26They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.


  1. Kurt,
    Awesome insight about Jesus choosing not to address political issues, though He would have been accurate if He had.

    Though He certainly would have us provide healing for the sick and poor without regard to whether they had insurance or not, I think a key point is that He had the power/ ability to provide that healing. He did not,however, take by constraint from someone else to provide that healing. That's probably a more accurate picture of public health care as it's being talked about today. The lesson I take from Jesus is that we should provide it from our own resources to those in our path. Expecting the greater population to do it in our stead is a convenient out.

    How to do that, of course, becomes a debate of ideas in itself, though....

    Great meditation. Thanks.


  2. There are no simple answers. Great to hear from you Bruce.