Prophetic, Disturbing WORDS-The Beatitudes

The new normal

That many of us face each morning,

Is a distressing reality.

And yet,

The Good News is

Within community,

Of sisters, brothers, siblings

There is sacredness

Where we can begin to craft and mold

A sense of peace.

(pause)

Words that pour from deep within,

Are examples of the hope

That we know

Can break every chain.

Social media

Is slowly evolving

Into such a place

Where many are seeing

And sowing

That spark!

(pause)

One of my colleagues,

Serving in an ELCA congregation

In Arkansas

Shared his interpretation

Of the Beatitudes,

In this way:

Blessed are the atheists, for they’re more courageous than the Christians

Blessed are the undocumented, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the refugees, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those court-martialed because they refuse to torture, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, those who do not repay their enemies or reward their friends, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, who refuse to fly drones, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for resistance to unjust rule, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”for they will inherit the earth.

 

(pause)

Perhaps,

From where you sit,

You are immersed

In these words

The hope that it translates for those

Who are routinely disregarded

Shamed

Outcast

For who they are

And how they cling to life,

It indeed speaks volumes

That God’s mercy

Is for ALL

(pause)

Or,

Your own nature just might be shook

Reaction to these words

Much like one dissenter among the comments

On Clint’s post,

Who seemed outraged

That atheists

Were deemed to be,

Blessed,

Raised up higher

Than those of us

Who have rightful claim

To our spiritual birthright

Or perhaps,

You are questioning,

Of why I am even sharing this,

And where is my own

Moral outrage?

(pause)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”

Perhaps these are the moments,

When we as people of faith,

Need to turn inward

And examine the ways

We refute Christ’s teachings,

Refuse to follow His commandments

Of welcoming,

Clothing

Feeding

Caring

Loving

The stranger

Refuse to emulate

The Christ

We confess to follow

Why are we surprised

That there are indeed

Those who are

Poor

In

Spirit

And why do we become so divisive

When they,

Who are

Poor in spirit

Atheists

Meek

Undocumented

Refugees

Are the ONES

WHO EXUDE MORE FREELY GOD’S GRACE!

(pause)

And yet,

Jesus’s own Words here,

In the Beatitudes

As He was teaching His disciples

Were seen as radical,

And

Prophetic.

By teaching His disciples,

Jesus Christ,

Was gathering up the resistance!

By daring to preach against the status quo

Jesus was indeed,

Starting a revolution!

Why is it so offensive,

To even ponder who Jesus was and is,

In this fashion?

(pause)

Prophetic words,

Almost always

Disturb the status quo,

Disrupt the order of things

Challenge the comfortable

(pause)

Their actions,

Their ministry,

These lessons are not to be so lightly treated

As a metaphor

Or something in the abstract

Or worth only for historical note,

And cannot be translated into the present day-

Because the refugees are crowding us out,

Even though

We proudly proclaim

To welcome the poor,

Tired

Huddled

Masses

Or that the undocumented

Are a threat to our livelihood

Our freedoms

While voluntarily accepting employment that,

Let’s be real,

None of us would accept the conditions

Or the wages

Of just $5/hr

With no benefits in sight.

(pause)

Jesus,

Here in our Gospel this morning,

With His Prophetic Teaching

Of the Word

Spoke to those who were present,

Who needed to hear

That the Creator indeed

Walked alongside

Encouraging God’s People

To break every chain

Speaks to us now,

Who need to be reminded

That God does stand with the oppressed

EMPOWERING US

To break those chains

(pause)

That We-

Who are poor in spirit

We

Who are sometimes labeled as weak,

Because we do follow Christ’s commandment

To love one another

Because we are working,

Towards the beloved community

Because we are not afraid,

To stand up

For refugees,

For outsiders

REGARDLESS

Of where they come from,

Or how they worship God

Because we are persecuted

For standing with,

The mentally ill

The formerly incarcerated

We

Are

Blessed!

(paused)

THAT

That is the Good News this morning.

Jesus’s words,

To those who are gathered,

And to us

Was an affirmation

Of both their humanity,

And

God’s unfailing Love!

Conditions in Jesus’s time,

For those who were regulated to

Second,

Third

Last citizenship class

Were one under an oppressive

Authoritarian

And hopeless

Many were indeed,

Poor in spirit

Angry with God for abandonment

Declaring they had no allegiance

To God,

Giving up

Resigning themselves

To a broken life

Jesus’s words,

Were

EMPOWERMENT

For

The

Powerless!

(pause)

Jesus’s Words,

Are

POWER

For us NOW!

And if we cling to this truth,

And proclaim we are Christ’s followers,

Then

Let’s

Just

Do

It!

(pause)

“and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Do justice.

This is not just words on paper,

For us to THINK about theologically

THIS IS OUR MARCHING ORDERS.

Do we believe we are blessed?

YES

So then what is our responsibility?

(pause)

One of my pastoral besties is here this morning,

Tuhnia

She too,

As a Woman of Color

From her heart,

Shares how she sees the Beatitudes

In this way,

Blessed are the Muslims

Blessed are the Sanctuary churches

Blessed are the resistance

Blessed are the marginalized

Blessed are those who are putting their bodies,

And lives for justice and liberation

Blessed are our children

That they may one day know

A world without hate and violence

Thanks Be to God.

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