A reflection by the Rev. Donna K. Manocchio.
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
'Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
'Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'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.
Reflection:Several years ago, a French biblical scholar named Andre Chouraque produced a translation of the Bible. When it came to the beatitudes, Choruraque did not use the words “blessed are.” He felt they were inadequate – in fact maybe even inaccurate – in expressing Jesus’ intention to the crowd. Instead, he chose the words “En marche!” “Rise up and walk on!”
Chouraque believed that Jesus was calling those in the crowd to stand up with a sense of pride, faith, and determination, and walk on in trust toward the blessing that is promised. Rise up and walk on when you are at the end of your rope. Rise up and walk on when you have lost what is most precious to you. Rise up and walk on when your faithfulness provokes persecution. Rise up and walk on when you are parched and famished from striving for justice and peace. Rise up and walk on!
On January 16, Royce Mann, a 15-year-old boy, performed his poem entitled “Rise Up!” at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a poem which embodies Jesus’ invitation to rise up together and walk on to create a kingdom of healing and hope. Maybe you’ve already viewed his performance; if not, take a look and listen to his powerful words through this link:
Rise Up by Royce Mann
Sisters and brothers, now is the time to rise up!
Prayer:Jesus, lover of our souls and source of our strength, be with us in these days as we rise up in your name and in your love. Amen.
Rev. Donna K. Manocchio is a lover of stories, sacraments, and serving God’s people. She is recently retired from full time ministry and is leaning into new ways to live the gospel.
associate minister at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford
January 25, 2017