Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
~Matthew 5:10 - 12
One of the things that we must realize is that Christ calls us to be different. We really don't have to look any further than the Beatitudes.
For those that he was speaking to, he is not telling them to abandon their faith tradition, instead, he is asking the crowd to see the brilliance, the promises, and the expectations preached by the very first prophets.
He literally is taking people back to their roots, while hoping to dispel anxiety and find those who seem to be lost.
As I look around I realize that many of us could have found ourselves on the mount that day, so hungry for the assuredness of faith if not the constraints of religion. We want to draw closer to God, even if it seems to pull us farther away from what has brought us comfort.
During Lent, as we seek to enter a period of self-examination and meditation, for some it may seem to be a real struggle. Placing things into perspective, both in a spiritual sense, and a way of life.
It's as if we want God to speak to us in ways that help us make sense of a secularized, fast-paced, and often, isolating world. While we want to alleviate the suffering of complete strangers, we struggle to see one another as brothers and sisters.
So much of what we seek during Lent is purpose in our lives. This desire takes us further than just wanting to promote good in the world, while recognizing our inability to find a cure for the senseless acts of violence that exist in the world.
As difficult as it may seem, there is hope. We must remember that Christ did enter the world so that we may have access to God, and an example, so that when we enter times of deep reflection we may believe that things can be different.
Blessed are you, for you are in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.