Praying with Walter Brueggemann
We talk theology;
we breathe image, metaphor, abstraction;
we credit you with big acts of mercy
and great strokes of judgment.
We are paid to live in the rarified air of faith.
But after dark, out of the office,
we follow the money as best we can;
we worry about church contributions and pledges
we peek at our IRA’s and pension funds;
we worry about health care
and college tuition.
We read our lives through the flat questions of Karl Marx,
and so it does not surprise us that at Solomon’s
death, the issue of taxation came up.
We watch the old, wise advisors to the king;
we notice the young brash alternatives for the king;
we observe the silly, foolish king,
as his power and authority ebb away,
and the kingdom falls apart.
We are indeed money creatures;
we pay our taxes
and fund war
and hope for gentle welfare
We pray about sins, but
more often about debts to be forgiven
and trespasses against the neighbor to be pardoned.
We come at you as bodied selves
with food and sex and money on our minds.
Deliver us from too much theology,
from too many images,
from abstractions that are too rich,
and too much conviction about things spiritual.
Give us courage and energy for the issues of
taxation and poverty and welfare,
and the fleeting chances for justice and compassion and mercy.
Our prayer is in the name of Jesus who
watched the coins drop into the temple plate,
and wondered about Caesar’s imprint
on our worth.
From Prayers for a Privileged People, p. 39,40