Jesus’ good news today emerges from real time spent with people who are suffering. In his (now famous) sermon on the mount, Jesus begins to address hurting people with a blessing. Hear it today in your own stories of pain and grief.
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
A reflection from Sojourners in 2017 offers a connection between suffering and hope. “This is how personal transformation takes place. We can’t imagine ourselves different than we are today or healed of that which binds and afflicts us. We can’t imagine ourselves forgiven. We can’t imagine our own salvation. But when we walk through the door of hope, and we look back at where we have been and where we are now, we see evidence of the grace of God.
For Christians the Resurrection is that door of hope, and Jesus showed us that the resurrection comes by way of a cross. Suffering and hope are always joined in human history. The cost of moving from one reality to another–in our personal lives and in history–is always great. But it is the only way to walk through the door of hope.”
Each year during All Saints, I reflect on how much more effort we put into tending our physical pain opposed to our emotional and spiritual pain. Its here in worship where we tend the wounds of our souls. None of us can escape the grip of grief. There’s no way around it; we must simply walk through it as best we can, holding onto the strength of others for support, offering our sorrow in prayer. It’s the only way I’ve ever experienced true hope in the midst of loss. That’s the story Jesus tells those who are looking for healing on that hillside over 2000 years ago, and it remains our hope too.
“To you who are listening” He says, whether in need of healing or in need of sharing your blessing…Jesus is drawing us together for the sake of experiencing hope in the flesh. We cannot exist in communion with God without also being in communion with one another. That is the road map to our blessing we celebrate on All Saints Sunday. Amen.
Rev. Emily Munger
delights in connecting sacred texts with everyday life.