Pages

Donate to our boiler restoration fund!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What does "loving your enemies"mean in a time such as this?

2/19/26

Keffiyeh on the altar


As I enter my final, week, yesterday was a classic West Park day…

With a church full of activity, there were two experiences…First, Philip’s mom appeared at the church to tell us of the  death of her son. Philip came as one of our paid singers. He had been  a full time “cover” singer for the Met opera. He had developed a relationship with Ruby Thron, who had come here from 2nd Presbyterian with her friend with Irene (of blessed memory). They wanted a church that was friendly to lgbtq people. He had never been baptized. Had left the pentecostal church if his youth due to their condemning attitudes about lgbtq people. He had   tried the Unitarians but felt they  left “a hole in his soul..” West-Park brought acceptance. And Jesus. He asked to be baptized with Ruby as his godmother. Became a member. Than an elder. Volunteered as a singer. Retired from  the Met. Then became our administrator. Then he for full time work with the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing .He served as manager of the Mikalski AIDS residence, named for a former West Park member. When Ruby needed home health care, he retired to become her full time caretaker. He separated from us for a while during one of our many church fights over the building and our future. But took it on himself to reconcile. He has not been able to come here from way downtown, but we  have been in touch on a weekly basis. He said, “coming to WP was the best the that ever happened to me. It saved my life. And gave me a purpose…”

We hosted visitors from the Waldensian church in Argentina. (Italian protestant) they emphasized that they were an immigrant church, not a mission church. They are our partner church  in Argentina and Uruguay. Mainly rural but now urban. They are trying to figure out what it means to be the church in the city. they have small congregations, 20 or so members. We gathered with friends from Jan Hus and West End. We recognized that coming from different  places, we now meet at the same place. They  were leaders in the marriage equality movement. And against femicide, murder of women as women. An area in which they are way ahead of us. It was a powerful time of sharing.

And we are meeting today on the day of theToday I an a Muslim Too rally…I will be headed there after worship if you’d like to come along…
Today I am a Muslim too

These are moments reflecting what we are…already. That we have meaning behind what we see, influence beyond our numbers.

I begin my reflection of my time with you. And what’s to come. Paul called himself a “skilled master builder” who laid down a solid foundation. I am not a skilled master builder, at least in the classic sense. We have been through several risings and falling in my 22 years. Several lives as a church. For better or worse, despite all predictions, we are still here. No..for better….let’s say it. Clear.

Someone else will have to build upon it. Someone(s) else will build upon it. As it becomes your responsibility,  Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. And I hope that  beyond anything else that  that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Pastor Bob at rally...

What does that mean?
  1. Love your neighbor or as yourself (from Leviticus ,at the very center of the Law, the Holy of holies, so to speak)
  2. Resist not evil
    1. Eye for an eye…never miss that this was a limit to vengeance. How many innocent people have died in the Middle East out of  vengeance for a 9-11 they were not responsible for and continue to suffer for today?
    2. Turning the other cheek..going the extra mile, etc..
      1. Loving your enemies   That’s big…what does that mean? I mean can you love     Donald Trump?  That’s the question you have to be able to answer. How? By praying for him? I remember how hard it was for me, in there Episcopal church worshipped in, to pray for our President Ronald….loving does not imply  accepting behavior we can’t approve…this is indeed a hard one…. 
REMEMBER: you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself         
So….to that end… loving our president means reproving our president…  

And remember:  So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours ….and that applies to pastors as wells presidents

And finally…..                  

you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you….what happens here is now up to you…so…
stay close to one another
study together
worship together
pray for one another
and ACT together

AMEN               

                                                                                







First Reading Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.

11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD.

13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Psalm 119:33-40

33  Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, 
          and I will observe it to the end. 
34  Give me understanding, 
          that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 
35  Lead me in the path of your commandments, 
          for I delight in it. 
36  Turn my heart to your decrees, 
          and not to selfish gain. 
37  Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; 
          give me life in your ways. 
38  Confirm to your servant your promise, 
          which is for those who fear you. 
39  Turn away the disgrace that I dread, 
          for your ordinances are good. 
40  See, I have longed for your precepts; 
          in your righteousness give me life.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 
     “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 
20and again, 
     “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, 
          that they are futile.” 
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Gospel Matthew 5:38-48

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.


43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What does it mean to choose life?

2/12/17


Choose life….

On the night we first went to Ground Zero following 9-11, I looked around the 17 acres. I witnessed for the first  time the power of deconstruction. De-creation. Nihilism. Death. And I also realized  the power of creativity. Creation. Life.  And that we have a choice. It also changed forever how I understood creativity. That the act of creating is itself an act of resistance. The banners Chris Shelton created for us. Declaring  Beauty and justice. Ethics and esthetics. 9-11 haunted my consciousness. For nearly a year, I think every sermon i preached was somehow influenced by 9-11.

Our President has used 9-11 as justification for his executive order on immigration. Even though no one from any of the countries listed was involved and the three countries where they did come from, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia…were left off..

Meanwhile, my neighbors have now put up signs on the corner deli run by Yemenites that say…STAY STRONG…We love & support you! We have your back!#NOBANNOWAY!! Your neighbors!
Neighbors




I’m just back from Berlin…I went to church last Sunday…in coffee hour, I was asked endless questions…about life in the United States the days and what did I think.

it’s funny….that the closest experience I’ve had to the weeks after 9-11 have been these weeks after the inauguration..and every week it seems ti impact my sermons…

So the question before us today is what does it mean to choose life?

The answer from Jesus appears to be: 
Loving the Lord your God
Walking in his ways
Observing his commandments

(Note…he says not a word about believing…or doctrine….it’s a way of life…

….and to not be led astray to bow down and worship other gods…and that to is not about belief systems or doctrines but life choices, making other things, realities, your principle commitment…like money or power or security or nationalism….what you worship…because if you make anything else the center of your life, it will already be lost..

…loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you …

With all we are hearing, we need to pay very close attention, listen very hard for Jesus’ word..Comentator JiIl Duffield has said:

I am convinced that the only way we will hear and heed Jesus in these chaotic and difficult times is to listen carefully and in community. I am convinced that the only way our outward actions will match our inward hopes will be through prayer, worship and mutual accountability.

These, plus action, are the very qualities we are seeking to build a community on..we need communities of resistance who do this in plain sight, countercultural communities…

”Ministry requires seeing others and letting others see us for who we are." McCray pointed out that in our culture of social media we do a lot of looking, but very little seeing. 

Andrew Wilkes writs of Howard Thurman:

Thurman’s take on self-deception is especially important to retrieve in a society where self-righteousness lurks in a thousand places, including our own hearts. Deception, he argues, is a hound of hell that tracks the trail of the disinherited, its barking away the complacency of the gilded and impoverished alike.

And here is where our language deceives us. We cloak the color-coded stratification of wealth and opportunity in America, for example, with terms like “racial disparity” or “differential outcome.” Deception. Disparity rightly suggests that a problem exists, but the term leaves unspoken the degree and duration of the problem. Black and white unemployment has created two social trajectories of earning power for decades, a legacy carried forward by slavery, the strange career of Jim Crow, and a service economy that looks increasingly like an on-demand, servant economy. Overcoming these problems requires that we name them accurately, even if our problem-solving abilities are outstripped by the enormity of our challenges.

The price of deception, Thurman continues, is to become a deception.

When we talk about obedience, Jesus makes it clear that it’s more than about rules…he goes to the heart of the matter. Don’t turn his words into another set of commandments..

With the 10 commandments…I’m convinced that two through ten  are all related to the first…to have no other gods before you….the rest are all about having other gods…and in the end, they are about community, not individual righteousness..what it takes for us to live together. 

At the center of his conversation, Jesus says:

If you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

In an age of alternative facts, Jesus says Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

Deception….if we deceive, we become deception embodied…

Our communion is a sign of community and inclusion…openness and acceptance, sharing bread together…as my Yemenite friends say, Our culture is hospitality…If community is broken, if there are broken relationships, perhaps to be true to Jesus and the wholeness, we should leave and go take care of business before we share the bread…but instead, I’ll ask that as we break off a piece of bread today, we remember our broken relationship, meditate on what it might take to bring, or even move towards reconciliation, only then will the body be whole…

so….Choose life….


First Reading Deuteronomy 30:15-20

15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.


Psalm 119:1-8
1   Happy are those whose way is blameless, 

          who walk in the law of the LORD. 

2   Happy are those who keep his decrees, 

          who seek him with their whole heart, 

3   who also do no wrong, 

          but walk in his ways. 

4   You have commanded your precepts 

          to be kept diligently. 

5   O that my ways may be steadfast 

          in keeping your statutes! 

6   Then I shall not be put to shame, 

          having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 

7   I will praise you with an upright heart, 

          when I learn your righteous ordinances. 

8   I will observe your statutes; 

          do not utterly forsake me.


Second Reading 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

3And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Gospel Matthew 5:21-37

21“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.



27“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.



31“It was./ ‘also”?/ said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.




33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”.;/////

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By Night in Chile: a review



2/16





In these strange days in which we are living, I’m interested in what can be learned from others who have lived through oppressive nationalist regimes. 
                     
Roberto Bolano is an author who lived through the Pinochet era in Chile. His first novel translated into English, By Night in Chile, is his exploration of religion and aesthetics under that  regime. The novel is the deathbed confession of Sebastian Urrutia Lacroix, a priest, a poet and literary critic who shares his reflection in a fevered unbroken stream of consciousness. It’s a flooding rush of words in a style that has been used by others like Jose Saramago.

A wizened youth looks at him accusingly and Urrutia feels compelled to make his confession. He has been an aesthete who seems to prefer the world of literature to that of the church, although he wears his cassock much of the time clearly identifying himself as a priest. He is open about  his association with the ultraconservative Opus Dei movement.  His literary associates can praise and fawn over Neruda without ever understanding the political convictions that inspire his work. He describes the Allende years almost parenthetically in his reflections on the Greek classics and his church and literary associates breathe a sigh of relief when Pinochet’s coup is successful and Allende dead. 

While Bolanos does not write as a magical realist, he edges into that territory in a fantastic section where Urrutia takes on a project with priests who have become falconers to rid their churches of pigeons. (A problem I know all too well!) There is a moment of pure beauty as Urrutia releases a flacon into the wild. 

Later, he will accept an assignment to educate Pinochet and his junta on the basics of Marxism. He approaches this work as a pure teacher, while setting aside wrestling with his conscience.

As curfews are imposed, he settles in with a crowd that spends the nights together in extended salons. And then later discovers in horror that the house where he has enjoyed intellectual discussions of literature has also been used for the torture and even murder of dissidents by the husband of his host.

For Urrutia, this journey is about accepting responsibility for one’s actions, but also one’s silences…”One must be very careful with one’s silences..”  He begins to see that the whole of Chile has become a “Judas tree, a leafless, dead looking tree, but still rooted in the earth, our rich black earth..”  And he discovers that “…life was much more important than literature…”

Finally he begins to realize that the wizened accusing youth may be himself…
“Am I that wizened youth? Is that the true, supreme terror, to discover that i am that wizened youth whose cries no one can hear?”

By Night in Chile is a reminder that in the time we are living there can be no bystanders. There is no aesthetic without ethics, and no beauty without justice because beauty requires truth and there is no truth without justice.

All of us, artists, priests, intellectuals…are responsible, and accountable, even for our silences…




Saturday, February 11, 2017

What does the Lord require of you? Of us?

 1/29



I can’t start without remembering Mary Tyler Moore. I was a young chaplain at a University and the young women professors i hung out with always took time out from there fork to watch her show. Every week. So I did too. I actually preferred Rhoda, but it was clear that Mary Tyler Moore played  a character who they identified with….

What a week it’s been. (Again).. A wall. An immigration ban. It’s Muslims no, “religious minorities,” that is Christians, yes…
It is shameful, it is wrong…

So the question of the day comes to us from Micah…

what does the LORD require of you 
     but to do justice, and to love kindness, 
          and to walk humbly with your God?

We have two prophets,Micah vs. Isaiah, working in the same era. 737-696 BCE. He was one of the minor prophets, with Amos and Hosea. Isaiah was the inside man, working the court. They both had the “swords into plowshares” line, but I’m going with Micah in that one. He came from the country side, prophesied against city. He  experienced the  effects of an invasion, he had seen it coming…not as punishment, but as the natural consequences of a society that lost the bonds that between people that make a society by failing to do justice. 

The Beatitudes answers the question by  spelling it out…in our Bible study, we learned that at the center of the book of Leviticus, there is the ..”neighbor passage”, followed two verses later by “Treat the alien as your neighbor”….this was for Jesus the most important commandment, made real by the Jubilee, the “reset”, the sabbath of Sabbaths that was to occur every 50 years…all debts forgiven, all property back to original owners…perhaps what the Beatitudes are all about is Jesus saying it’s time to make the jubilee real…was it on the Mount? or the plain? Just depends where he was standing…in Luke, he’s preaching to the crowd, but in Matthew, he’s speaking to his disciples, away from the crowd..all the blessings are third person until he gets to what happens when you follow…and then the turn to you…and what will happen..

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Last night, I saw ”Hell or High Water.”  For someone who lived in the west for 10 years, the West Texas setting is familiar territory. Two brothers are robbing banks to redeem their mother’s ranch. The people are sympathetic, refuse to cooperate with the police. The dying towns, the victims of predatory  capitalism…those who have been forgotten by the rest of us..and probably Trump supporters. 

Our epistle takes it further…it’s about us….

26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

So what does the Lord require of you? Of us

Simon and Garfunkel once rewrote  the Beatitudes like this…

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit.
Blessed is the lamb whose blood flows.
Blessed are the sat upon, Spat upon, Ratted on,
O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
I got no place to go,
I've walked around Soho for the last night or so.
Ah, but it doesn't matter, no.

Blessed is the land and the kingdom.
Blessed is the man whose soul belongs to.
Blessed are the meth drinkers, Pot sellers, Illusion dwellers.
O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
My words trickle down, like a wound
That I have no intention to heal.

Blessed are the stained glass, window pane glass.
Blessed is the church service makes me nervous
Blessed are the penny rookers, Cheap hookers, Groovy lookers.
O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
I have tended my own garden
Much too long.



Perhaps we have tended our own gardens too long…what does the Lord require of you? Of us? 

It’s Jeremy’s last Sunday before returning to Switzerland. He leads us in a song:
Courage, Muslim brothers, you do not walk alone
We will walk with you, and song your spirit home. 
Based on a song from the South African struggle. And to honor the promise of new life and hope, he sings a song for his son, Elio. and as a grandfather, I understand. I understand. 
Thank you Leila....note kaffiyeh and stole from Palestine

Pastor Brashear and Jeremy


First Reading Micah 6:1-8

1   Hear what the LORD says: 
          Rise, plead your case before the mountains, 
          and let the hills hear your voice. 
2   Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, 
          and you enduring foundations of the earth; 
     for the LORD has a controversy with his people, 
          and he will contend with Israel.

3   “O my people, what have I done to you? 
          In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 
4   For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, 
          and redeemed you from the house of slavery; 
     and I sent before you Moses, 
          Aaron, and Miriam. 
5   O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, 
          what Balaam son of Beor answered him, 
     and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, 
          that you may know the saving acts of the LORD.”

6  “With what shall I come before the LORD, 
          and bow myself before God on high? 
     Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, 
          with calves a year old? 
7   Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 
          with ten thousands of rivers of oil? 
     Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, 
          the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 
8   He has told you, O mortal, what is good; 
          and what does the LORD require of you 
     but to do justice, and to love kindness, 
          and to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 15

1   O LORD, who may abide in your tent? 
          Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2   Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, 
          and speak the truth from their heart; 
3   who do not slander with their tongue, 
          and do no evil to their friends, 
          nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; 
4   in whose eyes the wicked are despised, 
          but who honor those who fear the LORD; 
     who stand by their oath even to their hurt; 
5   who do not lend money at interest, 
          and do not take a bribe against the innocent. 
     Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, 
     “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, 
          and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Gospel Matthew 5:1-12

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”