When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:1-12
I have been spending these past few days in the Episcopal Church in Navajoland. I have been seeing and hearing of the wonderful ministries that are happening here. We walked out yesterday to see the hogan that is under construction on the grounds of Good Shepherd, Fort Defiance. Each log has felled, stripped and prepared by members of the congregation. They hope to have it ready so that it can be used for ceremonies of cleansing and blessing. The challenges are many in this place and yet the beauty of the land and the gifts of the people are incredible. Everywhere I have been I have been blessed and encouraged.
We are invited in our Gospel today to understand that true blessing is often surrounded by great challenges. God's blessings are often hidden from sight, and never draped in silk and satin. God's blessings are found in the messiness and complexity of life. And blessings come to those who are willing to be hungry for compassion and justice and to who love freely despite the condemnation of the world.
Today, I ask God to help me see the blessings around me. May the stark sunlight mesas and the snow dotted hills remind us of God's presence and blessing. May we even find blessing in our hunger and our pain, as we seek to love as God has loved us.