Income Tax Day by Walter Brueggemann


Income Tax Day
Walter Brueggemann

On this day of internal revenue
some of us are paid up,
some of us owe,
some of us await a refund,
some of us have no income to tax.

But all of us are taxed,
by war,
by violence,
by anxiety,
by deathliness.

And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief.

We render to Caesar. . .
to some it feels like a grab,
to some it is clearly a war tax,
to some — some few —
it is a way to contribute to the common good.

In any case we are haunted
by what we render to Caesar,
by what we might render to you,
by the way we invest our wealth and our lives,
when what you ask is an “easy yoke”:
to do justice
to love mercy
to walk humbly with you.

Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives.

(From Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann.)

  • Scott Killgore

    This is beautiful, and speaks poetically about what I heard this week as he repeatedly challenged the church to stand up to “empire” and instead work to usher in the Kingdom that Jesus continually spoke about. Sadly, I must confess my sin of too often landing on the side of empire. Maybe it is easier, more convenient, or maybe my brokenness and sin is the culprit. I and my staff were blessed to attend the Faith and Culture Conference. I have read Brueggemann before, but this was my first time to hear him in person. What a gift! I hope to still have that much fire in my spirit when I am his age.