Thursday, September 15, 2011
From the Mountain
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
On our way to explore old town in Quito yesterday, we can upon some sort of student gathering, police in force with machine guns in hand. We asked the driver what was going on and he said it was a common occurrence, students clashing with police. As we passed the intersection I noticed clouds of smoke in the deserted square and people running everywhere. Too late did we realize it was tear gas, and before we could get our windows up, we had a taste of daily life for these students. As our eyes teared up and our throats tightened against the burning, I was humbled to have witnessed an all to normal setting in this gorgeous city nestled in breathtaking mountains. Our driver remarked as we coughed and pulled away, "welcome to Quito."
Jesus went to the mountain to teach the people who came from all over. These were people who were not permitted to sit in the temple and learn, their lives were those of service and humility. They were the faceless, nameless, humble people who carried on lives of great care and faith. And Jesus told them hoe blessed they were, despite what the culture, the world, or even the religious leadership might say to them. How wonderful to have this blessing, in a chaotic world where these humble people knew they were of no value. They were precious to God and of great value.
Today, I ask God to open our eyes, our ears and our hearts, to those people who serve and surround us as they are the carriers of God's richest blessings. May we who gather here, humbled ourselves and be grateful for the witness we have in their midst.