Yr C ~ Remembrance ~ Luke 6:20-31
I know what you want. You want me to do that thing where I take the text and dive into the language of it and draw out a deeper meaning than the plain words alone offer. You want me to take those words of Jesus, where he says to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, and adapt them and tell you what they really mean.
But I can’t do that for you today – because they mean exactly what you think they mean. The problem isn’t that they’re hard to understand – the problem is that we understand all too well. And the big problem is that with that understanding comes the realization that we’re just not doing it.
Jesus begins by telling us who’s blessed and who’s woe’d.
Blessed are those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and excluded and put down.
Woe to those who are rich, satisfied, laughing, and thought well of.
It’s pretty obvious that these blessings and woes would appeal to people on the margins and down on their luck, and the blessings and woes would challenge or offend people who are doing ok for themselves.
Which group are you in? Probably doing pretty good.
How does that make you feel?
Apparently we can expect lots of woes around here!
But I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you that I think the clearest and most helpful way to see this is that the problem with the woes group isn’t that they are doing ok it’s that they think they’ve achieved it all by their own doing.
It’s that they are pretty content with the world and think they can manage pretty much on their own – after all, they’re already rich, satisfied, laughing, and well thought of.
That’s the difference with the blessed who are poor, hungry, weeping, and excluded and put down. This group knows they can’t manage things on their own because life has pretty much overwhelmed them and they can’t fix it.
They aren’t blessed because Jesus is a masochist and God likes suffering people.
They’re blessed because they are more likely to be God-reliant than self-reliant.
Blessed are you who are God-reliant, for you will know God.
Woe to you who are too self-reliant, for you’re on your own.
And then Jesus says “let’s put this into action and see what happens.” read on