Matthew 5, 11-12
Something to read
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Something to think about
So that’s okay then! Let the world abuse you because when you get to heaven you’ll be rewarded for putting up with it all. But we believe in life before death, and that life lived to the full, as much as life after death.
I want to stand up and argue with a world that allows this kind of philosophy of 'putting up with stuff' to be perpetuated. I want to be part of a legacy that doesn’t believe in the ‘same old same old’, where ‘it’s always been done that way’ is a mantra that keeps everyone in their place and those with power staying in power. This beatitude makes me restless.
But God notices. God is a God of the persecuted and gives of Godself to those who are persecuted. That’s the story of Jesus. But it doesn’t mean persecution is inevitable and that because it has always been that way, it has to continue to be that way.
This is the final beatitude in this series and there is something in recognising all the other beatitudes within this one. They all lead here because the world does not sit comfortably with beatitudinal living. As we long for the day persecution finishes then we’ve reached the society we are longing for.
Something to do
Refresh your memory of some of the recent movements in the world that have sought renewal based on justice and freedom who have been persecuted, or where world orders have been reshaped. Find a sentence or two about someone who was or is part of these movements for change and live with their story for a while. Let it come to the fore throughout this day in everything you do and let it affect how you engage with things today.
Something to pray
God of blessing,
may we be restless like you,
restless and uncomfortable;
may that be your blessing to us:
that our faith be the ants in the pants
of the world,
and may we hold in prayer,
and speak of loudly in community,
those who have followed that restlessness
of the spirit
into a persecuted life;
may we speak of their story
when their story has been silenced.
Today's contributor is the Rev Roddy Hamilton, Minister of the Church of Scotland at New Kilpatrick Parish Church, Bearsden