Traveling on the Low Road

Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor.” – Luke 6:20b

I have a friend who once noted in surprise, “When I first believed, I thought I understood the kingdom of God – but now that I have entered more deeply into my Christian walk, I realize I was looking at a negative: the blacks are white and the whites are black. Everything in this life is opposite of what I expected.”

Is this not true in what Jesus says in the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany? “Blessed are you who are poor…Blessed are you who are hungry now…Blessed are you who weep now…” (Luke 6:20-21). One would have expected the opposite: misery for the poor, the hungry, and the sad. With money we can buy what we want, with a full stomach we can focus on other matters, with diversions we can forget our problems and enjoy life. What a contrast between Jesus’ goals and those of the world we live in!

The poverty of which Jesus speaks is poverty of spirit, as Matthew interprets it (5:3). The poor are those who know their need of God, their dependence on his grace, his guidance, his love. The hungry are those who long for God’s goodness in their hearts, and his way to be observed between nations in our world. Those who weep are the earnest hearers of others, who listen without condemnation and enter another’s pain, offering a hand up, a word of truth, or questions whose answers lead to God.

The way of Christ is not one of triumphalism, nor of winning, not of being on top. It is the path of serving, of allowing others first place over oneself. Instead of climbing a ladder of hierarchy, Christians dance in a circle of peers. Rather than putting others down, we put others up. These are the ways to the blessings of God.

Grant us your gracious Spirit, O Lord, that we may find your way none other than the way of blessing and of peace; in Jesus’ name. Amen

In His Peace,

Pastor Schultz

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