Sunday, February 11, 2007
The Peterson Beatitudes
The Very Rev'd George Werner was our guest preacher today at St. Paul's, Chatham. He preached without a note in front of him and absolutely charmed my congregation. Later, he talked about the state of the church and the Anglican Communion and entertained questions. It was a lovely day.
I've been meditating on the Lukan Beatitudes, the appointed gospel lesson for today, in preparation for our 5 PM Service. I always find a sermon in Eugene Peterson's translation of the bible, THE MESSAGE.
Well, here, see for yourself:
"Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon.
They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him - so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:
You're blessed when you've lost it all.
God's kingdom is there for the finding.
You're blessed when you're ravenously hungry.
Then you're ready for the Messianic meal.
You're blessed when the tears flow freely.
Joy comes in the morning.
"Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable.
You can be glad when that happens - skip like a lamb, if you like! - for even though they don't like it, I do . . .and all heaven applauds.
And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.
But it's trouble ahead if you think you have it made.
What you have is all you'll ever get.
And it's trouble ahead if you're satisfied with yourself.
Your self will not satisfy you for long.
And it's trouble ahead if you think life's all fun and games.
There's suffering to be met, and you're going to meet it.
There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests -look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors!
Your task is to be true, not popular."
I can't think of better words to consider as Our Katharine travels to the Primates meeting, making history as the first woman to walk the corridors of power in the World Wide Anglican Communion.
She may not be able to sit at table and share the foretaste of the Messianic Banquet with the whole of the Boyz Club, but I suppose that those who are "ravenously hungry" will be there with her.
May all our prayers accompany her as she travels and surround all of the Primates to remember their common vocation in Christ.