Our Identity

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.  (Luke 6:20-21)

These are words of hope.  These words affirm the humanity of the poor and insist that every person be treated with human dignity.  This blessing, spoken two thousand years ago by Jesus of Nazareth, affirms the worth of all people.  Biblical scholar, Obery Hendricks writes, “So deep and so debilitating was the effect of impoverishment on the psycho-emotional health of his people that Jesus found it necessary to explicitly affirm their worth with the validation “Blessed are you who are poor” (Luke 6:20).”  [Obery M. Hendricks Jr., The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of the Teachings of Jesus and How They Have Been Corrupted (New York: Doubleday, 2006),62.]

The words of Jesus–blessed are you who are poor– are counter-cultural.  They offer an alternative way of looking at the world and life. Jesus offered a blessing directly to his hearers.  Notice his blessing in the Gospel of Luke is in the second person, “blessed are you who are poor,” rather than the blessing found in the Sermon on the Mount, “blessed are those who are poor in spirit.”  Here, he speaks directly to his hearers.  You are blessed!  He looked upon those who were poor, hungry and in despair, and said, you matter.  You are a human being loved by God and some of your best days are ahead of you.

In his blessing, “blessed are you who are poor,” Jesus was not recommending poverty or hunger.  His listeners were already hungry and in despair.  He was affirming their humanity and offering them hope.  Our attitude about people who are homeless and hungry tells us something about our own relationship to God.

Jesus considered nobody as a pawn.  Rather than blaming the poor for their condition, he offered words of hope. 

‘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.

On Sunday, we will be having a conversation about our vision and mission statements which both insist that the Missio Dei Community always fully includes those who are poor and suffering.   We hope that you will participate in this important conversation.

Our Identity

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