Teachings of Jesus

“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
~ Matthew 22:21b

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
~ Matthew 22:37-39

“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
~ Matthew 5:3, 4, 9. (Read Matthew 5:1-12)

All of us are taxed: by war, by violence, by anxiety, by deathliness. And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief. We render to Caesar…to some it feels like a grab, to some it is clearly a war tax, to some – some few, it is a way to contribute to the common good. In any case we are haunted by what we render to Caesar, by what we might render to God, by the way we invest our wealth and our lives, when what you ask is an “easy yoke; to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God. Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives.
~ Walter Brueggemann

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we dies when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.
~ Dag Hammarskjold

The second great commandment is a warning to us all; we will reject in others whatever it is that we fear in ourselves. Only by loving the self to life, by accepting all our own weaknesses, b6 trusting that the God who loves us will accept the other, too, can we possible ever really love and accept the other. We might come to tolerate the other, maybe. But we can never really love what we reject in ourselves. Only self-acceptance with its admission of our own weaknesses, imperfections, mean little smallnesses, and failures can ever truly open our arms to the other. But we must. Real holiness depends on it.
~ Joan Chittister

In the biblical sense, if you give me your blessing, you irreversibly convey into my life not just something of the beneficent power and vitality of who you are, but somethings also of the life-giving power of God, in whose name the blessing is given.
~ Frederick Buechner {Just imagine what this means for the blessings Jesus gave to us in the Beatitudes.}

Beams of heaven as I go, through this wilderness below,
guide my feet in peaceful ways, turn my midnights in to days.
When in the darkness I would grope, faith always sees a star of hope,
and soon from all life’s grief and danger I shall be free someday.
I do not know how long ‘twill be, nor what the future holds for me,
but this I know: if Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday.
~ Charles Albert Tindley

These reflections are for use during the week of October 25-31 and are based on some of the lectionary scrip0tures for worship on October 25.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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