One Landmine at a Time
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – Matthew 5:11
Most people can’t stand criticism, much less persecution. Are the beatitudes a hoax, false news, fake news or alternative facts?
Or are they too good to be true, too wonderful to be real, too pie in the sky to be boots on the ground? What if your son was murdered or your mother deported? Are you still blessed, even with a big problem?
My biggest problem most days is my New Yorker subscription, which I have been trying to change to getting just one a week down from two. I call. I write again. I call again. This week I received three in the mail. There is a certain privilege to being a white New Yorker with three New Yorker magazines every week. While many people live with one big landmine at a time, I get to live with three small ones.
Proportion established, there are real people who are meek and hungry and thirsty for justice, real people who are being persecuted, on this block and in Syria, real people who are merciful and try to make peace despite the extraordinary forces against them. I call them the beautiful people, and today I’ve seen them jump- starting a blessing. You know what jump-starting is right? You connect to an external source of power to get yourself going after you have sputtered because you had no power. Blessings are jump-starters. They are promises for a tomorrow better than today.
We give you thanks for our trouble, O God. Turn our curses into blessings. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.