© Progressive Christians Uniting

Blessing Our Taxes and Celebrating Our Taxpayers:

Celebrating
Taxes

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Blessing taxpayers and taxes for the sake of the common good, while asking for divine guidance as citizens in shaping and improving the way our taxes are spent.

Congregations are invited to incorporate a special time of prayer and blessing during public worship on the Sunday before IRS returns are due: on April 15

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This event is intended as a sacred re-affirmation of our social covenant to serve each other, and especially the most vulnerable among us, through our government.  It will be a time to remember the blessings that flow from the taxes we pay:  services to the poor and ailing; schools, roads, sanitation; public safety and defense; protection of the environment; and promotion of a healthier economy, to name a few.  It is also a moment to recommit ourselves, as citizens and stakeholders, to shape the priorities that determine how our taxes are spent.

 

Congregations can approach this in a variety of creative ways.  Some will invite members to bring their tax forms to worship to place on the altar for the blessing.  Some pastors will focus their sermons on the sacred duties of citizenship and on their visions for the ways that tax money should best be spent.  Some congregations might wish to have plan special discussions related to citizen activism and social issue awareness following worship.

 

The form of the blessing will differ, but the essential message will be the same:  we give thanks to a generous and loving God for the good that comes through our taxes.  Many blessings flow from them, and much divine blessing is needed for us to have the wisdom to spend them carefully for the best purposes.

 

In addition, we should celebrate and bless the tax payers who faithfully support their neighbors through payment of their taxes and who appreciate the dictum of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., that "taxes are the price we pay for civilization."

Sample Ceremony:  BLESSING OUR TAXES

by Rev. Jim Burklo

 

(Parishioners are invited to bring their tax forms, or their tax guides or other representations of their IRS returns, forward to put on the altar.  The pastor or lay leader the prays:)

 

Dear God, bless my taxes! Give me peace of mind as I struggle to fill out the forms and determine the right amounts I should be sending to Washington and Sacramento. Keep me calm, I pray, as I write out those fat checks on April 15. And whisper a reminder to me, Lord, of all the good reasons that I send my money to my government every year.

 

Dear God, help me to recall that my freedom to pray as I wish is guaranteed by the legal protections paid for by my taxes. Reveal to my mind’s eye the roads and the airports, the water systems, the magnificent parks and wilderness areas, the public health workers, the regulators of the environment and of commerce, the police and the soldiers, the scientists, and all the other people and things that my taxes make possible. They provide safety and comfort, protect natural resources, and enable enterprise to flourish for the benefit of all. Remind me of how hard and scary life was for the sick and elderly before citizens paid Social Security taxes and received its benefits. Show me, dear One, just how expensive, difficult, and unpleasant life would be for me and everyone else without all the benefits that are funded by my tax payments.

 

Dear Lord, remind me that my tax payments are a bargain when I consider all the good things that I and others receive back from our government,. Take me out of my selfishness and give me a spirit of gratitude as I write those tax checks. Inspire me to see that this is a sacred duty.  It is a way that I serve others who are vulnerable, poor, or sick, and especially dependent on public assistance.

 

O dear One, there are so many ways I wish my taxes could be spent differently. There are many things I don’t like about what my government is doing, there are ways that the tax system could be made more fair, and there are many important things the government leaves undone. I’m willing, O Lord, to pay even more in taxes if it would work for the common good: it could save us all even more money and trouble, in the end.  So, more than ever, dear God, give me the strength and the vision to rise up and take action as a voter, pressing my government to act for peace and justice at home and abroad. My sacred duty as a citizen is only partly fulfilled as I write my tax checks. I ask for your guidance, God, as I join with others to change the priorities and values of our government, so that they may align with your divine creativity and compassion.

 

(with hands placed on the tax forms on the altar)  Dear God, may your blessing rest on these Form 1040’s this week.  May our taxes well serve you and each other! And may you bless us with wisdom to shape the way they are spent.  Amen.

If you are interested in more information, or if you plan to Bless the Taxes in your congregation, please contact:

Jim Burklo, PCU Board Member, 213-740-6110