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.
Remind me of the fact that I could not write this prayer if I had not received an excellent tax-subsidized education - my parents couldn’t have afforded fancy private schools or colleges. Gently show me that the Internet, through which I send this prayer to others, was created with taxpayer dollars. Help me to recall that my freedom to pray as I wish was purchased with the lives of soldiers and the tax payments of other citizens who defended liberty before I was born. Reveal to me, Lord, in 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 scientists, and all the other people and things that my taxes make possible. They provide safety and comfort, protect natural resources, and enable capitalism 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 services and protections that are funded by my tax payments.
Dear Lord, remind me that, in fact, for all the good things that I and others receive back from our government, my tax payments are a bargain. 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, and is a way that I serve others who are vulnerable, poor, or sick, and are 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 reflect more of what we see of your will.
May your blessing rest on my Form 1040 this next week, dear Lord, and may my taxes well serve you and my fellow citizens! Amen.
(The Blessing of the Taxes is a national effort, which I initiated and now has been adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Churches and temples of many denominations around the country will be holding "Blessings" in worship in the week around April 15. Have a look at the national Blessing of the Taxes website at: http://www.uua.org/uuawo/new/print_article.php?id=571&;print=1 )