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Woeful words

Woeful words

Something to read

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

- Luke 6:20-21, 24-25.

Something to think about

The beatitudes, a set of blessings best known in Matthew’s somewhat spiritualised form, are a great source of encouragement for those seeking to live a Christian life. But less often quoted are the ‘woes’ which follow them here in Luke’s earthier version. For every promise for the poor, the hungry, and those who weep, there is a parallel warning for the rich, the full, and those who laugh.

With a bank account in the black, a hot dinner on the table, and the joy of good company to share my life with, I find these uncomfortable verses. We’re supposed to, I think. Our material circumstances may seem not to fit neatly into either category, but in these stark contrasts, Jesus asks us clearly with whom we will choose to align ourselves.

Content in our own fullness and satisfaction, the temptation is to surround ourselves with others who are comfortable, in order to block out the troubling stories of struggle and grief around us. But the alternative is to identify with those who struggle in our shared humanity. It leads us to give freely out of what we have, and makes us determined not to rest until everyone can share in the abundance of God.  

Something to do

Choose a prayer from Christian Aid’s prayer library to pray today, joining in solidarity with those who don’t have food, shelter, or safety today.

Something to pray

God of blessing, thank you for all you have given me and continue to provide day by day. Help me resist the temptation to protect only myself and my loved ones, and instead enable me to stand in solidarity and action with all who are in need. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones