The daily reflections by the Church of England this week were by The Rt Revd John Inge,
Bishop of Worcester.
On Friday he reflected on Matthew 22: 15-22. It was the encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees who were trying to entrap him. The meeting centred on the place of Caesar in the scheme of things and whether paying taxes to him went against one’s loyalty to God. Who was greater?
Jesus knew their hearts and so called them hypocrites but he willingly took up their challenge. Calling for a coin, he asked whose head was on it and whose title. ‘Caesar’s’ they answered. So, said Jesus, give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.
As ever there is more depths to Jesus’s answer and I thought about that when I received Joyce’s tweet this week. The caption has something very important to tell us and it begins its message in Jesus’s response to the Pharisees.
John Inge said that Jesus was able to assert the sovereignty of God over all things, while appearing superficially to support the emperor.
At another level, there is an unspoken message. John Inge went on to say that Caesar’s head is that of a human being. Human beings are made in the image of God. Citing Genesis 1:27 : “In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them and God blessed them.”
Thus, in a very subtle way Jesus told the Pharisees that all things (even them!) were God’s.
This important message reminds all of us that we reflect the image of God. Each one of us is ‘stamped’ with God’s image and likeness – even if sometimes we are not shining with that image as brightly as we could!
There is however, another implication. If we are all stamped with the image and likeness of God, we are all equal in God’s sight. He loves everyone, everything, that he has made.
According to the Genesis poem of Creation, God saw everything that he made and makes as very good. That’s very important for us to know. Of course, we don’t always believe nor act as if it is true. Life’s experience and circumstance can tarnish us and the goodness can fade. But it never goes completely away. It can be burnished very easily into brightness but we have to go to the maker to see to that. He has the polish to do it. It is called Love. We are rubbed by it in prayer, through conversation and study of His word and through the actions of Jesus and the Spirit. Also, we can polish each other with mutual love and encouragement. The image of God in us never goes away. God sees to that, though we do have to reach out to Him.
One of the great joys of the Gospel is that it’s about God being good to us.
So what’s this got to do with the little Blue-Tit? Well, it seems she knows that she is secure in the love of God and, like all Nature and Creation reflects the beauty and love of God. This is why she’s not too bothered about comparing herself with others.
She’s just content with God loving her as she is.
Some of you will know the Butterfly Song which begins – If I were a butterfly.
The Chorus is worth turning into a little prayer.
For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank you Father for making me, me