The World as a Place of Meeting (Matthew 22:15-22)

Professor Ted Wardlaw, a mentor of mine in divinity school, proclaims that "our greatest loyalty is to the one who made us and to whom, in body and soul, we ultimately belong. To give to God the things that are God's is, first, to testify that all of creation belongs to God, and, second, to place in a subordinate context that which really belongs to the numerous "emperors" we wrongly crown in our lives."

Ted says: "Do not give the emperor your faith, do not give the emperor your ultimate allegiance, do not forge a relationship with the emperor that forces you to figure out how God can rightly fit into the emperor's pocket."

God's attention, in Ted's understanding, is drawn not so much to our imperfections as to our possibilities: "We are beloved children, able partners in the ongoing work of creation, people who are living daily into their baptismal identity by giving God what is God's: our lives, our selves, our energy, our everything, until we become living sacraments, and our world becomes a place of meeting."

Preach it, Ted! And, thank you.


Theodore Wardlaw is president and professor of homiletics at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. His full reflections on this text can be found in Connections: A Lectionary Commentary, Year A, Volume 3, 2020, pages 405-406.