Take time to rest in the comfort of the Lord today.
Luke 6:17-26 (NRSV)
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.
There are two places in scripture where Jesus laid it out for the people. In Matthew, we call it the Beatitudes and in Luke, Blessings and Woes. For many, they are a favorite passage with much to hear as Jesus spoke to those in dire straits. But, if we are to be truthful about it, Luke’s version ought to hit most of us between the eyes!
The blessings for Luke are on those people who are suffering in physical situations: poor, hungry, weeping, the hated. We understand this. Of course Jesus is on their side, we all are. We don’t want anyone to be in this situation. And they are more likely to depend on God to see them through these situations.
But those woes! Look in the mirror! We are the rich, those with full bellies, the laughing, and the well thought of. WE are the people Jesus is warning! It isn’t “those people” over there, it is US. We are the ones who have become so content and dependent on our stuff that often we have pushed God to the side or placed Jesus in the box, only to pull him out when we need something.
It may be easy for us to say, “Go Jesus! Speak up for those less fortunate!” But maybe what we ought to be saying is, “Forgive me, Lord, I have ignored you long enough.”
Almighty God, we do not live as you call us to live. We fail in so many ways and become more dependent on what we have than who you are. Forgive us, strengthen us, and keep on loving us, we pray in the name of your blessed Son. Amen.
Go with God.