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The Chalice
Friday, October 30 2020

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

(Matt, 5:3-10 NRSV).

In 1980, I met a ninety year old neighbor named Old Man Stokes at our apartment complex. He used to love to listen to the Commodores and would ask me to turn up my stereo so that he could hear it from his balcony. His favorite song was “Unchained melody.” I used to talk to him about what it was like to grow up in the south at the turn of the century. He grew up doing the jobs that nobody else wanted to do to make a living. My favorite story that he used to tell was when he was a well digger as a young man. He would dig a hole about five feet in diameter and about twenty five feet deep. He would use a pick and a shovel to fill a bucket that was tied to a rope. They would use boards on each side to prevent the walls from collapsing, but that was always a danger. When the water was up to his waist, he would yell to his buddy to pull him out and they would fill the bottom of the well with small stones. Now those of us who are a little claustrophobic, ask, “How do you get out, if the walls cave in?” His answer was that, “you are completely dependent on the person holding onto the rope. Since they took turns digging, they needed to have faith in each other and to pay careful attention at all times to their buddy in the hole. If you have ever come to a situation in your life when you are looking up from the bottom of a hole, I hope you pray today’s Gospel from Matthew. Jesus offers us comfort in times of need.

The translation of the beatitudes in the Message also offers hope to all who are persecuted, sick, or in trouble that we might emerge from our experience with an even greater faith:

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom (Matt, 5:3-10).

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

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Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 12:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email