Reading from the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
“Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:
‘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.
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.’” Luke 6:20-23
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday, the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, our Gospel reading includes Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. This is parallel to Matthew’s Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount but slightly different. After Jesus blesses those who are poor, hungry, weeping and hated, he also gives four “Woe” statements:
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.
Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.’”
Jesus refused to be an elitist and to abuse any form of privilege that he might have had as a teacher and a healer, let alone as the Messiah. He stood with the marginalized, the powerless, and those who seemingly had nothing, and pointed out to his disciples that everything will be reversed. He was insistent that what is seen as important on this earth--money, food, privilege and fame—will not finally fulfill our deepest yearnings. Seeking the kingdom of God with Jesus’ message of love transcends everything the world holds as dear.
The first in our Candlelight Concert Series last Sunday was wonderful. Our four musicians-- Jessica Park, Chiara Stauffer, Judith Insell and Ben Larsen—were truly spectacular. The Beethoven and Mendelssohn quartets were revelatory, and the sun shining through the windows was a blessing. We had a terrific crowd, and many of you who came brought your friends. We saw many new people. Thank you! And thanks to all who donated their time checking people in, setting up tables, greeting and providing drinks and desserts. Everyone had a lovely time, and we raised more money for repairing our clerestory windows. Yay!
Please make sure that all reports for our 2018 Annual Report are in by this Sunday, February 17. Our Annual Meeting is on Sunday February 24th at noon in the Parish Hall. You won’t want to miss it! This is a wonderful time of fellowship, lifting up new leadership, hearing about all of the miracles that God has blessed us with in 2018 and having an opportunity to thank those who have done such wonderful work as Senior Warden (Deborah DeBride) and as Vestry Class of 2019 (Chris Canty and Jen Longley). Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for work beautifully done!
In Christ and with love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria R. Sirota