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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1–10
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. (NRSV)

The Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes listed in it are among the most well-known scriptures, but I’ll be honest, I often just glance over it. It’s got a great cadence to it and is an idealist’s dream. But “blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus? Really? When’s the last time the meek inherited the earth? It all sounds too good to be true—so good I almost don’t want to believe it, because it’s setting me up for disappointment. I don’t want to lose heart or hope, but it’s hard when the answer is slow in coming or not coming at all. It’s hard when the work of peace is foiled by war or the “meek” inherit nothing. This passage reminds me about how cynical and jaded I can be.

How about you? The world as it is, work as it comes, family as we experience it, relationships as they happen—do they disappoint us because they could be so much more? Sometimes, afraid of being disappointed again, we numb ourselves to the possibility that things could truly be as we dream them. I said I almost don’t want to believe this passage, because when I allow myself to be truly vulnerable, when I am alone with the secrets of my heart or just before drifting off to sleep or in the middle of prayer, I want what this passage offers. I believe this passage calls us to hold God accountable, for at its heart is a promise: what doesn’t always seem blessed truly is and the kingdom of God is beyond our disappointments and our dreams. I don’t know about you, but I will hold God to that promise because I think God can take it, and frankly, our world depends on it.

Remember your promises, O Lord. Remember your people, O God, and grant us faith, hope, and, above all, love. In your name we pray, Amen.

Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident

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