I wanted to share part of my sermon from Sunday. The reading is Luke 6:27-38. It is Luke’s version of Jesus’ beatitudes. I rewrote and paraphrased Jesus’ beatitudes to fit our context. I borrowed this idea and some phrases from two sermons, one by Nadia Bolz-Weber and the other by Doug Gay.
In these blessings Jesus is uplifting those in this world who have been ignored, forgotten, trampled or pushed to the side.
Blessed are the poor, those who live below the poverty line, not the poor in spirit, but those people who don’t have enough for this week, people who aren’t making ends meet and are desperately scrounging together a life for themselves and their loved ones. Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are the hungry, all those who know what it’s like to skip a meal, the school children who don’t eat when we have snow days and all those folks who are standing in line at the Alliance Food Pantry or who are first in line when we host a pancake breakfast . Blessed are all those who flood the Kroger at the first of the month because the food stamps just hit their account. Blessed are the hungry for you will be filled.
Blessed are those who weep. Blessed are those who know what loss feels like. Blessed are those who are white knuckling life, trying to hold it all together for others while everything around them is falling apart. Blessed are those who occasionally have to go have themselves a good cry. Blessed are those who weep now for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when people exclude you and defame you on the account of the Son of Man. Blessed are those who are innocent and wrongly accused, those who are dismissed and discredited as they work for the common good. Blessed are those who know that the way that the world is, is not the way the world should be. Blessed are those who speak the truth in love no matter what the cost. Blessed are you when people exclude and defame you, rejoice in that day, leap for joy, because your reward is beyond this world.
These blessings, these beatitudes, give us this glimpse into what the kingdom of God looks like in this world, this kingdom of God that Jesus calls us to acknowledge, to see in our midst and to live into. The challenging part of this vision that Jesus casts is that this kingdom of God looks so different from the vision we get from the world of what our life is supposed to look like.
I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty counter cultural to me. It seems like Jesus is teaching us to live in this contrary way in this world, he is blessing human weakness and vulnerability instead of power and wealth, he is uplifting those moments where we don’t get it right and don’t have it all together and where our life is hanging on by a very thread. He is saying to us in these moments you are blessed, you are favored, you are beloved, I am with you, loving you into the fullness of life.