Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany • February 2, 2014
“Bless-ed . . .”
When I was a little girl, Mother bought me a book at Hinkle’s Bookstore with a picture of Jesus on the cover. He was sitting on a rock talking to people. It was a book about the Sermon on the Mount. I loved this book. I loved looking at the pictures and reading the words. I remember reading the Bless-eds. It was a King James Version text, so we read it “Bless-ed.” “Bless-ed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” “Bless-ed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
I loved to read these words, even though I didn’t know what they meant. For some reason I knew they were important. I read them over and over again. Every time I opened the book, I had to read these “Bless-eds.” Now when this text is assigned for preaching and worship, I still get excited. I remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen reading them as a child and wondering why they are so important.
When I began to work on this bulletin, I read them again. I was drawn again by the word “bless-ed.” One of the meanings of the Greek word is “supremely blessed.” This brings the question, how can the poor in spirit be “supremely blessed”? How can the mourner or grieving person be “supremely blessed”? How can the persecuted be “supremely blessed”? Their existential reality is anything but “supreme blessing.”
I find myself in the same situation I was in as a child. I still do not grasp the meaning, and yet I know these words are important. Sometimes it may be enough simply to read the words of Jesus and to let them wash over us and realize that in hearing these words we are supremely blessed.
Carol Foltz, pastoral team, Friedland Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina