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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, February 11, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Luke 6:17–26

He 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.” (NRSV)

“They had come to hear and be healed.”

My first thought on seeing the passage for today was “Who am I to write on the Beatitudes?”

But this time I noticed—since this version is Luke’s, not Matthew’s—that it begins with Jesus and a crowd. Healing them. And I thought, “Oh! It’s all about healing.”

Our community is ill when anyone is hungry, is poor, is hated.

We are spiritually ill when we see need, see a wrong, and do not seek to help in some way, as suits our talents.

Our healing—individual—is tied up in our healing, communal.

We see this in Mary’s Magnificat, earlier in Luke’s Gospel, where she starts by praising God for what God has done for her and moves to what God is doing and has done for God’s people.

We see this later in this chapter, where we read how the one who hears and acts is building a lasting foundation. Or more starkly, later in the chapter, where Jesus says his mother and his brothers are those “who hear the word of God and do it.”

Are the Beatitudes a future state to aspire to or is this how things are now? There is no consensus, and I imagine it much depends on where you stand in relation to them in the moment. (Also, time is a tricky thing to think about when it comes to God and heaven, Jesus and the Word.) But regardless we can try to make the world a bit more blessed for others—and ourselves—now. Do we get in the way of others’ healing, or do we make clear the way?

God of all, may I hear your words and be healed; may I see your people and know they are my kin. Amen.

Written by Simon Crow, Program Manager, Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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