A distance from within (Ecclesiastes 3,1-15; Luke 20,1-26) /Matins, 22nd week after Trinity Sunday, Matins BCP/
‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to mourn, and a time to dance…’
‘Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? Or who is he that gave thee this authority?’
The two texts offer the conclusion: there is a time to recognise the Messiah.
‘And Jesus beheld them and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’
In Jesus, we recognise the Messiah. He is the proper distance from history, and its ultimate judge. Jesus gives us this proper distance from within history, which distance makes possible all understanding. The nature of this distance reflects his geniality. What Jesus gives is not escapist narratives but our very transformation within that vast stream called history.
This inner freedom and distance is expressed in the coin, the closing image of today’s Gospel passage: ‘Give unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God things which be God’s’ We are placed into this world to acquire freedom and power to see Ceasar’s world not outside God, but within God’s light. History, our history thus becomes His story.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..