Collect of the Week (Proper 15-C)
Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Catechism: The Fourth
What is the Fourth Commandment?
Honor your father and your mother.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
In the name of T Jesus.
The Fourth Commandment most clearly gives order to the family. Parents and children live in harmony with one another when each understands its office and the duties given to it. As the Father loves and preserves His creation, so too, earthly parents are called to give that love and service to those children entrusted to their care. Likewise, as we are to give the heavenly Father the highest honor, so too, since our parents are in the parental office, children are to honor, serve and obey, love and cherish their parents—their familial authorities.
But the authority which is fundamental in the family also extents to the other spheres of life. The order given by God to promote harmony and well-being is also applied in the spiritual realm, and the civil realm. Those who are called by God to serve in the Office of the Holy Ministry truly are spiritual fathers, and those who receive their love and service are called to give them the honor due that particular office. This what Paul writes in 1 Thess 5:12-13: “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
The third sphere, which Paul speaks of above in Romans 13, is the civil sphere. Here too, the same order seen in the family is given by God so that there would be harmony and well-being among all people. Those who serve in government offices serve in fatherly offices and are, therefore, called to a high form of service. Those who receive that serve, likewise, are to give those offices their honor. And with this understanding, there is order, and there is peace in the land.
Be it the family, the Church, or the civil sphere, problems arise when the Fourth Commandment is broken. Authorities who abuse their power, or who fail to carry out their duties of loving service stand guilty before God. Children, congregation members, and citizens who fail to give honor to those who serve in God-given offices of authority are likewise guilty of having sinned against the Fourth Commandment. And no matter who the guilty party is, order has been lost, and you can be certain, there will be strife.
To see this displayed most clearly, consider how Christ is the head of the Church. Those who know of His work of redemption through his death and resurrection have no problem submitting to Him and giving Him honor and praise. And so, Christ becomes the model for all those in authority—servants who pour themselves out for those they’ve been called to serve. And likewise, the honor and praise we rightly give to Christ is reflected in how we treat our authorities in any realm. In the name of T Jesus.
Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep all harm and danger far from them. Grant that we may dwell together in peace under the protection of You holy angels, sharing eternally in Your blessings; through Jesus Christ, our Lord (#239).