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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Today’s Reading | Luke 6:12–26

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
     “Blessed are you who are poor,
          for yours is the kingdom of God.
     “Blessed are you who are hungry now,
          for you will be filled.
     “Blessed are you who weep now,
          for you will laugh.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

     “But woe to you who are rich,
          for you have received your consolation.
     “Woe to you who are full now,
          for you will be hungry.
     “Woe to you who are laughing now,
          for you will mourn and weep.

“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.” (NRSV)


Reflection

I have a couple of friends in the neighborhood who enjoy getting together about once a month for lunch and conversation. Instead of going to a restaurant, we normally prepare a meal for each other, and I usually do something very simple like homemade soup and bread. But one person in the group always goes all out. I mean enough food to feed about thirty or forty people. When we have finished the meal, complete with elaborate desserts, we have not even made a dent in the amount of food that is there. What I have noticed over time is that we eat the same amount of food in each place and are just as thankful for it. But at least for me, the overwhelming amount of food at my friend’s home is almost irritating. It’s like we can’t appreciate having just enough; we have to have far too much.

I have another friend whom I see regularly at Fourth Church who doesn’t have an abundance of wealth; actually he has very little in this world. I ask, “How are you today?” and the immediate reply is “I’m blessed.” He understands how fortunate he is to just be alive and getting through another day. His reply lets me know how thankful he is for the simple things in life, like enough food, free time, and friends. His reply reminds me that I am blessed too and not to overlook this amazing grace.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” I ask you, which of these people has a better understanding of the kingdom of God, my friend who is not satisfied with making a simple meal or my friend whose reply is always, “I’m blessed”?


Prayer

Lord of all goodness, help me to be thankful for having just enough and to see glimpses of heaven even in the simplest of moments. Amen.


Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music


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