Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
He Came Down with Them . . .
After spending years in the church, I tend to take for granted well-known passages, including the Beatitudes. I am surprised at how often a rereading of a familiar passage can provide a new nugget of insight or truth.
I was struck by the very first phrase of this beloved passage today: “He came down with them and stood on a level place” (Luke 6:17). Jesus’ teachings are just as much about what he does as what he says. He walks the walk and talks the talk. Before he begins speaking, he comes down with them to a level place. He meets them where they are.
Then he says, “Blessed are you who are poor, who are hungry, who weep, who feel low-down. The kingdom is yours, you will be filled, and you will laugh. You will be raised up.” And then, from this place of meeting the people where they are on level ground, Jesus continues, “Woe to you who are rich, who are filled, who laugh, who feel like you are elevated in power or status. You’ll know what it is to want, to be hungry, to mourn. You will be brought down.”
Jesus is the great equalizer, always shaking things up and setting things right. In Christ’s eyes, as his beloved siblings, we are not elevated one above another. Jesus sets an example, by coming down and standing on a level place, and by lifting up those who feel low with words of encouragement and blessing, and by admonishing those who see themselves as better off with words of warning. He meets us where we are and shows us the path that will lead us to where we should be.
Mandy Mastros, pastor, Lancaster Moravian Church