Sunday is the Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany. Assigned scriptures for this liturgical season strive to help us have an “epiphany” (see the light) of God’s love. It also seeks to help us to see the light of hope in troubling and challenging situations.
We see this in the assigned Gospel text for Sunday taken from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we know as “The Beatitudes.” Each Beatitude begins with “Blessed.” “Blessed” has incorrectly been interpreted as “Happy.” One may well experience joy, a fruit of the spirit, while enduring these things, but none of these situations would make one happy.
Happy is associated with plenty, abundance and power. The “Be Attitudes” associate with being “happy” would go more like this:
Happy are the ruthless, for they are wealthy.
Happy are the wealthy for they have lots of stuff.
Happy are the Romans (In Jesus’ Day) and autocrats today, for they have power.
Happy are the powerful, for they get what they want.
Happy seems to be the arrogant and the ignorant, the mean and the petty, the shallow and the self-absorbed; for they get their own reality TV shows and make everybody around them miserable.
Jesus stands this kind of attitude on its head. “Blessed” means “holy and consecrated.” So, “blessed’ are you who know God’s love and presence when you go through challenging & difficult times for you can still experience joy, a fruit of the spirit.
The life, ministry and teachings of Jesus is a “one pony act.” It’s always either teaching us how to know God’s love and forgiveness, to experience God’s grace and joy in the living of life, or teaching us contentment on the journey of life. It reminded me of a saying by the great baseball player, Yogi Berra, “Déjà vu, all over again.”
Join us for worship Sunday, In-person, by Zoom, Facebook Livestream, or later on YouTube. My sermon is “Déjà vu, All Over Again” based on “Micah 6:8” & “Matthew 5:1-12.”