Blessed Are You

Blessed Are You

Scripture selection: Luke 6:20

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.”

As Jesus’ ministry continues – releasing the spiritually oppressed – performing the miraculous – he continues to teach as well.

It is here that we find some of his most memorable words.

This compilation of sermons and teaching; these familiar phrases which begin with the words, “Blessed are you…” have given hope and life to billions of people over the centuries.

Now they come to us.

At first, we may feel that do not exactly apply.  I mean, are you poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, and rejected because of your association with Jesus?

While we may sometimes feel that way, I doubt that many truly are in such a difficult state of affairs.

Still, we can identify – can we not – with how refreshing and welcome these words are to anyone who is burdened and troubled as a Christian pilgrim making his or her way in the world?

The “Blessed are you” words of hope encourage us in a way no self-help or pop-psychology best-seller can because these are words that give us a glimpse of kingdom life.

The kingdom of God is not of this world.

Jesus would make this very clear, very soon.

And we, who identify ourselves with that same kingdom in our own time and place, can take comfort in that same truth.

Life is often difficult, troubling, and burdensome.  Jesus said, “In this world you shall have trouble.”

He also said He has overcome the world.

Blessed are you.  Blessed are we.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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