Mark 12:13-17: A Prayer for Paying Taxes and Tithes
Teacher, we know you have integrity, that you are indifferent to public opinion, don’t pander to your students, and teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
Jesus is The Word of God, the light in the darkness, the rescuer of souls. In our conversations with Jesus, we might well ask the same question . . . must I pay attention to the institutions and systems put in place by humankind?
He knew it was a trick question, and said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Bring me a coin and let me look at it.” They handed him one.
Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the bringer of good news and redemption. In our prayer with God, we might well hear the same question . . . why do you complicate your life and what is it you are really asking of me?
“This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”
“Caesar,” they said.
Jesus said, “Give Caesar what is his, and give God what is God’s.”
The Spirit lives in each of us, even those of us who appear to ignore the presence of the healing, living God. In our interactions with all of creation, we hear the same commandment . . . love me as you love yourself, love your neighbor and even your enemies as yourself, and live in my presence always. This is all I ask of you . . .
Their mouths hung open, speechless.
In our interactions with God the creator, God the Son and God the Spirit we hear a consistent message . . . we are in this world but not of it; we are made in God’s image and we are children of God; we made in and for love, love to be shared and not harbored, love that takes risks and does not shelter its own comfort, love that endures and withstands. When our mouths hang open at such outrageous hope, we pray.
Loving and forgiving God, we bring our little and big problems to you. Help us to see that you are all we need; give us patience and hope.
Generous and compassionate God, we bring our worries and anxieties to you. Guide us in understanding that you know and see all; send us your mercy and grace.
Courageous and outrageous God, we bring our fears and doubts to you. Heal us of our pettiness and deceit; bless us with fidelity and peace.
Timeless and limitless God, we bring our questions and confusion to you. Grant us your serenity and peace; transform us in your wisdom and love.
We hear Jesus’ words to render our taxes and tithes with common sense and generosity. Let us give over all that is of this world to this world, let us keep our eyes on Christ as our example of how we are to manage this world, and let us keep our hearts and minds always in the hands of God.