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)
My heart explodes with compassion. Sometimes I want to run up to every single person I pass and tell them that I love them. This feeling is strongest when I encounter people who exude anger or hostility toward me or others. I believe that they who often exude that anger or hostility do so out of fear or mistrust or negativity that has been inflicted upon them.
Last night, I encountered compassion on foot. I walked side by side with Love. I witnessed God’s Spirit moving through the streets of Capitol Hill in Seattle through and with the hundreds of people of all faiths and no faith as they walked from one Cathedral to another. We walked to show that Love Wins and that God is Love, not hate. We walked to tell the city and the nation and the world that God relishes in compassion and mercy, and God mourns with us as we cry out in lament after the heinous murders in Orlando and so many, many, many other cities.
We walked in memory of the all victims of gun violence. We walked to lament the continued unaddressed issues of gun violence in our country. We walked to show that people of faith stand on the side of justice, and that those other people of faith who express hate and hostility towards those not like them do not represent us.
I follow the religion of love wherever love is found,
for love is my religion and my faith.
Holy, holy, holy,
You are the Lord God.
Heaven and earth
are full of your glory.
Kyrie eleison, eleison.
Images of our walk through Capitol Hill, starting at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and ending at St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral, Seattle, Washington.
Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But the one who can no longer listen to his brother or sister will soon be no longer listening to God either; he or she will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he or she be not conscious of it. Any who think that their time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and their brothers and sisters, but only for the self and for their own follies.
…Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by him who is himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.
–This piece originates in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together pp. 97-99, but was excerpted from A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, page 356.