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Remember - November 1, 2020

by Joan Kessler

Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes from Matthew’s gospel as we heard Jane read this morning, are one of those overly familiar passages. We know these lines, maybe not by heart, but we certainly are not surprised when we hear Jesus’ words. But imagine his first listeners so long ago and their reaction: Blessed are the poor in the poor in spirit, the mourners, the persecuted… for great things will come to them… comfort, justice and righteousness. Jesus’ list of circumstances were not what his listeners that day were expecting to hear… those who experience grief, depression and persecution will be noticed and their suffering temporary, for comfort, peace and vindication will be theirs… radical statements for sure! But this is not some pie in the sky promise Jesus presents today… the Beatitudes are the circumstances of life. They are an active reality. As my friend described her impression of these words from Jesus, they are like gravity she told me… one turn leads to another, sadness to happiness… it’s just the way it works. Life is not immune from suffering and setbacks, disappointments. Jesus isn’t setting his listeners up for the perfect life but rather a Beatitude Life. When we have knowledge and understanding of this, we become the stuff of Saints, to make a difference in our world. There are no platitudes offered here but rather promise that our suffering is but temporary… what side of the beatitudes do we find ourselves on? Are we feeling mournful, diminished, overlooked… or are we the ones who are offering comfort and compassion, fighting for justice for those with not voice and filling the hungry with god things?

I heard the beatitudes spoken in the book, Me and White Supremacy, which our study group completed this week. I recognize from this work that as a white person with immense privilege and power over others that I have ongoing work to do… to address my white silence when I have failed to speak up in defense of a Person of Color… th