Luke 6:17-26 (NRSV)
Verse 17He 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. Verse 18They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. Verse 19And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Verse 20Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Verse 21"Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Verse 22"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Verse 23Rejoice 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. Verse 24"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Verse 25"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. Verse 26"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
My mother was not overly warm and fuzzy. But she was emphatic about pronouncing a blessing upon me. “Mark, you are so gifted. You are blessed.” I always knew she was for me and with me, even when I was down on myself, or life was cruel.
My mother provided me a window to understand the blessing of God. Despite what the world might say, God is always declaring “Blessed are you.” In the beatitudes, Jesus is not giving us some conditions for us to fulfill in order to be blessed. Jesus is declaring that God’s blessing is for all, even or most assuredly in times and experiences that the world despises, ignores, or overlooks. Jesus declares this blessing not to minimize the suffering. But Jesus promises that the blessing of God is ever more real, powerful, and lasting. Rather, this blessing is for us, and we are invited to enter the hard places of life to be a blessing to others.
Blessing God, may we live in the promise and truth that you are always blessing us so that we may be a blessing to others. Amen.