Prayer: Lord, bless the poor and hungry and help me to be the blessing. Amen
Reading: Matthew 5:1-12 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: First, it is so easy to slip through these so familiar words at the head of what is called “The Sermon on the Mount.” It is also so very easy to dismiss their present relevance, since they promise future reward for those in less than joyful places today. Matthew softens Luke’s presentation of these words perhaps to make them easier to hear. For example in Luke the first word is “Blessed are you who are poor,” not “in spirit” as in Matthew but just plain “poor.”
I don’t find much comfort in hearing that the poor will be blessed. Or the hungry will be filled. Perhaps there is comfort for those on the short end of the stick to hear that Jesus sticks up for them. But, if their stomachs still grumble …..
Jesus’ ministry encourages us to encounter others’ present difficulties with blessings now. So, for today’s devotion how about we each make an extra contribution to our local food pantry? --Jim Bricker
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