STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 81

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 81, June 2, 2020
“Pray for righteousness…pray for peace”

The Beatitudes are the beautiful blessings Jesus bestows at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Surprisingly, his words of blessing point to a tension that his followers must recognize and a tension with which his followers must wrestle. The tension exists between the blessing of being ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness and the blessing of being ones who are peacemakers. The hunger and thirst for righteousness is on full display as large gatherings of people are protesting the shocking death of George Floyd, which is yet another sign and symbol of racial injustice. The call for peacemakers is also being voiced as many of these protests, designed to be peaceful, have erupted in acts of violence and looting leaving behind personal injury, destruction of property, broken windows and raging fires.

My heart is heavy. My heart is broken. My heart is concerned. In all honesty, my heart is fearful. My heart needs healing. The heart of our nation needs healing.

Feeling at a loss for what I can do during these times of great tension, I am offering something small. I am offering something small with the belief it might be helpful. I am offering a chance to identify the tension we live with, the tension found in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. At noon today and then again at 6 pm today, Tuesday, June 2nd, in the midst of a time of great tension in our nation, I am going to read aloud the Beatitudes as found in Matthew 5:3-12. I am inviting you to join me at either noon or 6 pm to read aloud the Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes we will come face to face with the tension that exists for those who follow Jesus.

    • We will hear Jesus say, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
    • We will hear Jesus say, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
    • Today at noon and again at 6 pm, I am also going to read the prayer of St. Francis, in which this simple man of faith prayed, “Make me an instrument of your peace…”
    • In closing I will say the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer that asks for God’s kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done.

Because I know the tension in our nation is felt in each and every one of your hearts, I am also going to be at a table in our church parking lot for an hour before each of the scheduled times of reading (11 am till noon, and 5 pm until 6 pm).You can come by the table and I will hand you a paper with the Beatitudes and the Prayer of St. Francis. If you come by, I would love to say a prayer with you. If you want to come at noon or at 6 pm we can read the prayers together. Whether at home or in person, I am hoping that you will join me at noon or at 6 pm today. If you do want to join in the prayer, I am including the Beatitudes and the Prayer of St. Francis. (Scroll down to see both prayers)

My heart is broken during this time of such great tension. And yet my heart is hopeful knowing that as we bow our heads together in prayers for righteousness and in prayers for peace, we are also committing ourselves to both of these great causes which mean so much to our blessed Lord.

THE BEATITUDES
Matthew 5:3-12 New International Version (NIV)

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

With the love of Christ,
Wayne