Beatitudes for the 21st Century

One of our Sunday evening Journey Groups, Writing Our Faith, spent some time writing Beatitudes, inspired in part by the Beatitudes the Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber shares in her book Accidental Saints and read during her talk at St. John’s last November, and also shaped some by the heartbreaking events in Florida on Ash Wednesday.

“What if the Beatitudes aren’t about a list of conditions we should try to meet to be blessed?” Bolz-Weber asks. “Maybe the Sermon on the Mount is all about Jesus’s lavish blessing of all the people around him on that hillside, blessing all the accidental saints in this world, especially those who that world – like ours – didn’t seem to have time for: people in pain, people who work for peace instead of profit, people who exercise mercy instead of vengeance.”

Read and send your own beatitudes and blessings to add to this list – e mail them to Cara Modisett, cmodisett@stjohnsroanoke.org.

Our writers: Al Cole, Kim Cooper, Cara Ellen Modisett, John Jackson, Amelia Ross, Lolly Rosemond, Katharine-Leigh Traub

***

Blessed are those living under the bridges.

Blessed are the beautiful people of Haiti.

Blessed are mothers whose work never ends, who fulfill many roles – teacher, nurse, taxi service, personal chef, maid.

Blessed are those who bring home the ugliest dog from the pound.

Blessed is the gate attendant the day before Thanksgiving.

Blessed are those who have a kind word for others and can smile at those who frown back.

Blessed are the teenage boys who write thank-you notes.

Blessed are those who make carrot cake and green salad for Sunday suppers.

Blessed are the doctors with terrible beside manners. Blessed are the baristas who remember your name.

Blessed are the parents whose children didn’t come home from school.

Blessed are those who are not afraid to be in the minority because keeping quiet or being untrue to themselves is a far worse outcome.

Blessed are the spouses of those who work in the service of others, who lovingly patch their loved ones back together each night and send them back out to do their jobs each morning.

Blessed are the children – theirs is the Kingdom of God, but also the whole world – someday.

***

Blessed are the forgotten and alone – may they remember that they are neither in the eyes of God.

Blessed are the silent – may they find their voice someday.

Blessed are those who make communities for all to feel welcome and included.

Blessed are the sick in heart and soul and spirit – may they find their personal Gilead.

Blessed are the adrift – may they find firm purchase in You.

Blessed are my enemies – perhaps if I continue to pray for them long enough, they will be my enemies no longer.

Blessed are those who have the power to transform conflict into compromise.

(Al Cole)

***

Blessed are those who rescue dogs from overpasses, from puppy mills and after natural disasters.

Blessed are we when we do not take our blessings for granted but try to share them with others.

Blessed are those who train service dogs.

(Lolly Rosemond)

***

Blessed is the friend of a shooting victim who finds herself asking why she survived but her friend did not.

Blessed are those who speak out, protest or question why things are the way they are on college campuses, even though they knew that was the climate beforehand.

Blessed is the school principal who just wants to hug every child who comes in and out of school every day, to protect them from the world.

Blessed are those who ask, “how can I help?” when you’re expecting a lecture instead.

(John Jackson)

***

Blessed is the diner who leaves a generous tip despite bad service.

Blessed are the little girls who refuse to wear frilly dresses just because it’s what little girls are supposed to do, and blessed are the little boys who still hug their mothers when it’s no longer cool.

Blessed are friends who remain faithful when others have abandoned us.

(Kim Cook)

***

Blessed are the Dreamers. Blessed are their parents.

Blessed are those suffering with life-threatening addictions.

Blessed are the caregivers, unpaid and unappreciated.

Blessed are those who cut down our forests.

Blessed are those who have lost their children. Blessed are those who have no children.

(Katharine-Leigh Traub)

***

Blessed are the parents whose children didn’t come home from school. Blessed are the teachers who stood in front of bullets. Blessed is the boy whose heart was so wrecked he saw nothing to create but wrecked other hearts. Blessed is the boy who carried the gun. Blessed are the students shouting truth at the politicians. Blessed are the politicians. Blessed are the lobbyists. Blessed are those who stand and watch in grief.

Blessed are those who make carrot cake and green salad for Sunday Suppers.

Blessed are the doctors with terrible bedside manners. Blessed are the baristas who remember your name.

Blessed are the poultry workers, the undocumented immigrants, the women who clean the hotel rooms, the men in expensive suits, the ambulance drivers, the dry cleaner ticket-takers, the burned-out airline attendants and the teens who sweet the popcorn off the movie theater floor.

(Cara Ellen Modisett)

 

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