It's interesting that our reading for today is about obeying the emperor, since March 15th was the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. The reading itself is challenging because it seems to be a total capitulation to worldly power as it is. Peter, Paul and other early Christian leaders didn't feel called to change the structures of power in the world because they believed the world as we know it was moving quickly to an end. Their guidance is wise in that there are things we can't change, and even the things that are wrong provide an opportunity to live and show our faith.
At the same time, we need to take Peter's language of obedience with a grain of salt. When Peter was ordered by religious leaders to stop preaching Christ, he refused to obey. When he wrote his letters the Roman Empire didn't consistently persecute Christians, but when they did outlaw Christianity, he certainly disobeyed that order as well. Living in some form of democracy as we do, our relationship to power is different too. We make the laws, which means we need to bring our faithful sense of justice and creating a better society to our political responsibilities.
Enough of that. The real reason I included this passage is the end, which focuses on forgiveness. We owe our lives to Jesus who forgives us at great cost. Now we are free to live our lives for the sake of righteousness, trusting in God's love and struggling to make that love real for everyone.