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Drop To Your Knees

... give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God
Matthew 22:15-21

Sermon Topic Loyalty

Sermon Week Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 22:21


A wedding ceremony was about to begin. Members of the bridal procession anxiously awaited for the organ music to accompany them down the aisle. But there was only silence. One of the ushers tried to get the organist's attention by snapping his fingers. Still there was silence. The usher then tried clapping his hands. Still no response. Finally, the now panicking usher called out the organist's name. "Neil ... Neil," he fairly shouted and all the people in Church obediently dropped to their knees.

"Kurios Christos!" (Christ is Lord!), was the creed of a group in the Roman Empire of the First Century A.D.. The members of this group, called "Christians." lived in a time and place in which all "loyal, patriotic" citizens were required to kneel before the altar of Caesar, so to speak. Once each year they were required to assert, "Kurios Caesar," which means "Caesar -- the State -- is Lord!" Thus, when these Christians pronounced their creed, "Kurios Christos!" not only were they saying "Christ is Lord! but also "The State -- Caesar -- is not Lord!"

They were affirming what their Jewish forebearers had said at Mt. Sinai: "We will have no other gods before the one true God." They were affirming a higher loyalty than their loyalty to the State. They were performing a supreme act of loyalty for which many of them were thrown to the lions. Saying "Yes" to the hard demands of one's country can be the manifestation of a noble patriotism. But there are times when a noble patriotism comes in the form of an emphatic "No!" There are times when the true patriot must say, "This nation under God," not to provide comfort but to disturb. There are times when "This nation under God" must mean "This nation under the judgment of God, as well as under His protection."

A middle-aged businessman, returning from a business trip was met at the airport gate by his wife. An extremely attractive flight attendant walked by. Beaming, the businessman said to the flight attendant, "I hope we can fly together again, Miss [...]

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