Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero′di-ans, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:15-21
Good morning, Prayer Team!
For our country, the president and all those in civil authority, and for the men and women who serve in our armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.
When Jesus told His followers to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, He was endorsing the authority of the state. Imagine what would happen if we didn’t have a country or a government. Again, we would have chaos. Without civil authorities, we wouldn’t have roads on which to travel, schools in which to learn, firefighters and police officers to keep us safe, water, electricity, and so many other things. The Church concerns herself with preaching the Gospel, preaching morality, and bringing the Kingdom of God to earthly life. The state is supposed to provide the means for us to live safely and in a healthy manner, to learn, to transact business, etc. We have a duty to support the work of the church with our stewardship. We have the duty to support the work of the state both with taxes and with following the laws.
Without making a political statement, there is increasing gray area between the work of the state and the work of the church. In many ways, the state has infringed on the work of the church, dictating morality on many levels. Many people have worked to enact laws that limit the work of the church. Thus, we must continue to pray for those in civil authority, that the Lord may always speak to their hearts and guide their actions.
Today’s prayer comes from the Liturgy of St. Basil—
Remember, Lord, this country and all those in public service whom you have allowed to govern on earth. Grant them profound and lasting peace. Speak to their hearts good things concerning your Church and all your people that through the faithful conduct of their duties we may live peaceful and serene lives in all piety and holiness.
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