Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
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.
–Words: Matthew 5:3-12 (King James Version)
–Music: Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)
In baptism, God says: ‘Remember who you are. Remember what you’re here for. So, let’s go!’ –Rev. Andrew K. Barnett
This sermon by The Rev. Andrew K. Barnett of Washington National Cathedral stuck a chord with me. Probably because of me going through a similar experience with the death of my mother a little over a year ago. But also because what he says about God’s call to us in baptism speaks to my soul.
When we are naked and alone, newborn or on a deathbed, or anything in between with nothing but the body God gave us, we are still and especially a creature of God. Built for loving. Equipped for serving. Called to return to wholeness. That is who we are. –Rev. Andrew K. Barnett
At the very core of who we are, we are creatures of God, beautifully and wonderfully created in God’s image. In the waters of baptism, God’s covenant with us is sacramentally made known to us. We are bonded in an unbreakable relationship with God. And that is a beautiful thing to periodically remind ourselves of.
We are God’s beloved. Thanks be to God!
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
–Words: traditional Latin, based on the Gospel of St. Luke
–Music: Robert Parsons (1535-1572)
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel, as he promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son:
And to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be:
World without end. Amen.
–Words: The Song of Mary (based on Luke 1:46-55)
–Music: Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.