Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blessed Are You

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 am in Oklahoma attending Winter Camp, a gathering of Native peoples across the Episcopal Church. We come here from many diocese, many ministries and many nations. We come here to support and learn, to pray and laugh and to hope together for the future. The obstacles that our people face are many. Poverty and abuse, addiction and disease, not to mention the willingness of corporations and government to destroy sacred lands and pollute our waters. The church itself can sometimes present challenges to our leaders and people. And yet, we also know that we are blessed. Blessed in the love our God, in our traditions and in the love we have been given that binds us all together.

Jesus saw the gathering and taught them about the nearness of God's reign and how blessed they were despite their circumstances and challenges.  Many were meek and many were poor. They heard a message that God loves them, seeks them out and is turning the abusive world order on it's ear. That message is for us today, as we are blessed despite the dangerous and cruel things we see happening to our neighbors and in the world around us. People like us are not overlooked or set aside by God. We can rejoice, despite it all, as children of a living and loving God.

Today, I ask God to help me be a peacemaker and to purify my heart, so that I might better see God in the midst of the present circumstance. May we all have the strength to rejoice in the midst of our present anxieties, knowing God is already working on a solution for us.

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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