Life on the Margins: Leveling the playing field
(Jesus) 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." ~ Luke 6:17-26
Our Lenten theme at Grace this year is "Life on the Margins." Nowhere is God's love for and feelings about those that live there better exemplified than in Luke's telling of the Beatitudes - which Luke calls "The Blessings and the Woes." Here Jesus clearly states God's love for those who the world makes outcast.
Jesus speaks these blessings and woes on a "level place." It is a perfect visual metaphor of Jesus leveling the playing field.
As we move through Lent, think about the outcasts and those on the margins that you see in your life, as well as the ones you aren't seeing: the ones you miss because you haven't looked or because you've been looking somewhere else. Who are those on the margins that you are being called to see with fresh eyes?
God of the margins, open our eyes and our hearts to see your beloved blessed ones and to reach out to them in compassion and solidarity. Amen