Friday, January 27, 2017

Beatitudes Remixed...Again

The Revised Common Lectionary can be quite providential. Only a week removed from the recent inauguration, when Jesus' preface to his sermon on the mount was read as part of the imperial liturgy, the same text pops up as the lection for preachers. 

And as I did nearly five years ago, here is my revised midrash of those whom Jesus called blessed, anointed, privileged, and at the forefront the inauguration of God's dreams for the world made new. These remixed beatitudes are upside-down prayers for these days whereby we reclaim the subversive nature of the biblical narrative written by those in the underbelly of empire. 

Blessed are those whose spirits have been crushed by systems and institutions, who seek solidarity in the midst of darkness and despair, and those who hold onto hope by their finger tips, God’s dreams for the world include you.

Blessed are those whose grief runs deep and others who enter into the suffering of their most vulnerable neighbors, God’s comfort and peace extends to you.

Blessed are those who humbly extend love and kindness, the movers and shakers of this world who subvert narratives of power and privilege and yet your names may not appear in headlines or history books, you already know the joys of God's kingdom here and yet-to-come.

Blessed are those who long for the world to be made right, whose commitment to justice is the marrow in their bones, and who organize resistance movements against perpetuates of fear, hatred, prejudice, and abusive rhetoric that breeds oppression, for you will find validation in the good news that God is reconciling the whole world.

Blessed are those who offer second-chances, cultivate empathy, quest for greater understanding, error on the side of mercy and love, and dare to believe noone is beyond redemption, for you understand what it means to be whole and human.

Blessed are those motivated not by self-interest but by a concern for those frequently labeled "least" among us, who surrender the temptation for self-preservation and choose instead the good of the whole, for you have the eyes and ears of the Spirit. 

Blessed are those who choose peace over violence, love over vengeance, and grace over retaliation, who work towards the end of war, seek to heal the rifts in our neighborhoods, and labor tirelessly to ensure our schools and communities are made safe for our children, for you best reflect what it means to be called God’s people in the world.

Blessed are you who have linked arms with the oppressed, extended sanctuary to the refugee, protested violations of human rights as embodiments of prayer, and do all these things and more as extensions of a deep commitment to the Way of Jesus even at the risk of arrest and the threat to your very lives. You join the long history of prophetic witnesses and will find joy in the resurrection parade of the Messiah and the movement of this gospel.