Today’s Gospel is all about ‘the things of God’ and ‘the things of Caesar’. ‘The things of God’
are concerned with the very depths of our being: essential matters like love, suffering, death
and the purpose and meaning of existence. ‘The things of Caesar’ also profoundly influence
our daily lives, but can often be subject to all sorts of shifting changes and prejudices.
People in first century Palestine would have regarded Tiberius Caesar as the most powerful
man in the world. He saw himself as a god-like figure, infinitely more important than an
insignificant Galilean carpenter-turned-preacher. Yet almost nobody remembers the
Emperor Tiberius now (probably just as well, given some of his disgusting personal habits),
whereas Jesus of Nazareth (who truly was God come among us as one of us) continues to
inspire and shape the lives of millions of people all over the world.
The United States can sometimes be a bit of an enigma to those of us on this side of the
Atlantic. In theory it’s a secular country where the church and state are kept strictly
separate. In reality, however, religion and religious pressure groups seem to play an
enormous part in political life (far greater, in fact, than in a country like our own). Over the
past few months Americans have once again had the choice between choosing a new Caesar
or re-electing an old one. For me, two incidents have cast an illuminating light on the
personal spirituality of those involved.
There was the time when Donald Trump, with a heavily armed escort, stood outside an
Episcopal (Anglican) Church opposite the White House, holding up a Bible for a photo-
opportunity. I don’t know Donald Trump. It may be that he keeps that Bible by his bedside
and reads it every day – or perhaps not. But I do know that on the Sunday after the election
results were called, he went off to the golf course. Joe Biden, on the other hand, went to
church with his family, and then said a private prayer at the graves of his first wife and his
son and daughter – and I’m convinced that he would have done exactly the same even if
he’d lost the election. I’m not an American, but I know which of the two Caesars I’d prefer.
SERVICES: Sunday 15 November 9.15am HOLY EUCHARIST in Church; 11am ZOOM
EUCHARIST; 5pm ZOOM EVENING PRAYER; (Llangunnor at 8am); Wednesday 18
November 10.30am HOLY EUCHARIST; Sunday 22 November 9.15am HOLY EUCHARIST in
Church; 11am ZOOM EUCHARIST; 5pm ZOOM EVENING PRAYER (Llangunnor at 11am).
To book seats and in case of Zoom difficulties please get in touch with Kristie, Rosemary
Bowen, Malcolm Jones, or myself (Delyth is on leave at present). Let me know of anyone
who would value a phone call, and I’ll do my best to oblige. The annual Local Ministry Area
Vestry is on Zoom on 26 November at 7pm. Please e-mail email@example.com
by 19 November if you wish to attend.