Post #4.12, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul

Ezra asks, “So maybe this Jesus whose teachings grow as we grow has something new to say about taxes?”

         “Sure. You already noticed Joseph in the creche who only seemed there to bring the Jewish tradition and pay the Roman tax.”

         “Yes, Papa, and I’ve also heard about Jesus answering the tricky query about paying taxes by turning the question and asking whose face is on the coin? I know it was clear; we should pay taxes. But I hoped to hear something different in the new of now.”

         “You remember the stories well, Ezra — new, or maybe old. Ancient Jewish tradition teaches that the earth belongs to God who created it. People may use the land as stewards or tenants but it is God’s earth. So when you give to God what’s God’s only a meager coin remains to give to Caesar.”

         I see my son thinking — laying thought to words in answer.

         “To make sense of God who owns the earth you would have to believe there is a Creator God, not just an imperial invention of a god in human form. And you know Papa, there are still some around in these times who believe a person can own land. I bought into that and paid off the tax debt on these lands after they were idled by the wars and plague. I even believed myself to be the landowner so I planted this vineyard. Then the next year when taxes were due I noticed the taxes went to a landlord and not to Rome, as though I were only tenant on my own land. Now it seems with no one but our Frankish king in power each lesser lord is taking our taxes for himself and paying a portion to a lesser lord, and on it goes, leaving me, the farmer, paying all the taxes, doing all the work and getting nothing but the use of God’s good earth which I thought was my inheritance anyway.”

         “Ezra, as I see it, from the nothing I left here you have turned it to good and used God’s earth to provide for your wife and children and sister also. And perhaps we should talk about my use to you so that I am not a burden living here as I do.”

         “Oh, Papa I didn’t mean to say…”

         “Ezra, if I could make your work easier and not just your tax greater, I would stay.”

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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