Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote the following new hymn based on the common lectionary gospel of Matthew 22:15-22 for October 19.
“Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes?”
BEACH SPRING 188.8.131.52 D ("God Whose Giving Knows No Ending")
“Is it lawful to pay taxes when they prop up Caesar’s rule?”
So some people asked of Jesus, wanting him to seem a fool.
Saying “no” would be sedition; saying “yes” would be a sin.
Jesus changed the conversation, calling them to look within.
“Find a tax coin in your treasure; see the image that it bears.
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. (Give to rulers what is theirs.)”
Yet he pressed on with his message; “Give to God what is God’s own.”
We who bear our Maker’s image worship God and God alone.
Lord of all, in every nation, may your word be understood—
That we have an obligation to support the common good.
May our taxes, all together, fund our working hand in hand
So that life will be made better for all people in this land.
Still, we also hear your teaching: “Give to God what God is due.”
May no ruler—overreaching—try to take the place of you.
May we listen to your message, may we honor what is yours;
May we, living in your image, seek your kingdom that endures.
Tune: The Sacred Harp, 1844; attributed to Benjamin Franklin White
Text: Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Hymn Use Permission: Churches that support Sojourners have copyright permission to use “Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes?” in their local church.
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/Upper Room Books) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship (Geneva Press). She and her husband Bruce serve as the co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware after serving churches in NJ for twenty years. A complete list of the 250+ hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, many with peace and justice themes, can be found at www.carolynshymns.com