Several years ago, in the midst of the intrigue that is the Anglican Communion worldwide, when the hot topic was the blessing of same sex couples, the Church in North America was excluded from everything. Our representatives were not permitted to even send observers to otherwise public meetings. It was a sad time in our history and probably only served to convince even more people that we are irrelevant.
Our Primate (leading bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada) the Most Reverend Fred Hiltz said, at the time, that this exclusion was particularly disappointing because it was over just one issue, and that the North American Churches had valuable contributions to make to the hundreds of other issues facing the Anglican Communion. Most of those other issues involves political questions such as poverty, profiteering banks and human trafficking.
The North American Churches are back now, helping the Anglican Communion worldwide address these issues. The damage is done to our reputation as a Church, but we have a chance to redeem ourselves by engaging governments and other power-brokers in the cause of humanity and creation. They might want us to keep silent and only speak when spoke to, but silence is not an option. To proclaim the Gospel is not to keep silent.
In our Gospel lesson (Matthew 22:15-22) Jesus is drawn into a political debate. The intention is to trap him, to ask him a question that will land him in hot water no matter how he answers. But Jesus is too smart for that. He gives an answer that shocks everyone, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's.”
On Sunday afternoon the candidates for Mayor of Charlottetown will speak at a forum sponsored by St. Paul’s Church. This is an opportunity to hear what the candidates have to say about social justice issues. It is also an opportunity for us to indicate to politicians that the welfare of every citizen benefits us all. People and the environment where we live matter more to God than lining the pockets of the wealthy. If you are offended by what I’ve written today then think and pray over what Jesus really means when he says to give to God the things that are God’s.