Whom Do You Serve?

Daily Scripture: Luke 20:19-26

Reflection: The Rev. Emily J. Schnabl, Rector—St. Christopher’s—Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma

As a child, I always looked forward to that time in Advent when we would get out the ratty boxes of ornaments from storage, but especially the box that held our crèche. The figures were safely tucked into squishy green foam, and I would carefully pull each one out. I loved the heaviness of each figure in my hand. Having set them all out to my satisfaction, I would then drape the stable, which in this set was a bit more of a lean-to, with a heavy curtain of tinsel. As a native Chicagoan, I thought I was adding some realistic icicles, not realizing that Bethlehem’s winter climate was more southern Arizona than Upper Midwest.

Our reading today seems miles away from any nativity scene. In the temple, Jesus is confronted by scribes trying to trap him into revealing his true intentions, either blasphemy or treason. Jesus turns the tables on them by having them reveal they are carrying the image of Caesar on their pocket change—proclaimed as God by the Romans—in the holy space dedicated to the God of Israel. And so the question posed by my childhood nativity scene is actually the same as that being posed by Jesus—where is your loyalty—to God or to Caesar?