The Rev. Dr. Andrew R. Guffey
Exodus 24:12-18 Psalm 2 2 Peter 1:16-21 Matthew 17:1-9
In the name of the One, Holy, and Living God. + AMEN.
“It is good for us to be here! Lord, it is good for us to be here! If you like, we will build you a nice little shrine—in fact, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. It is good for us to be here!”
An abbot of a monastery, from about the year 700, reflecting on these verses, wrote: “It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honor could we have than to be with God, to be made like God and to live in God’s light? Therefore, since each of us possesses God in our heart and is being transformed into the divine image, we also should cry out with joy: ‘It is good for us to be here’—here, where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: ‘Today salvation has come to this house.’ With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the firstfruits and the whole of the world to come” (from the Chapters of Anastasius, Abbot of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai.
The good abbot Anastasius paints us a poignant and lovely picture of what the story of the Transfiguration means for us. And if we were reading these lessons on the Feast of the Transfiguration, which is in August, maybe we would be intoxicated enough by the summer slumber to really agree with them. But as it is, today, we listen to the story of the Transfiguration in anticipation of Lent and the journey of Jesus to the cross. And rather than understanding the mountain as the destination at which we have arrived, I’d like to point out that there is an invitation concealed, as it were, in the cloud that descended upon the mountain.
In the story of Moses, God says, “Come up to me on the mountain….” And that is where Moses will receive the Ten Commandments, the code of Law that protects the relationship with God and God’s people. The cloud that covered the mountain opened the heavens and “the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire.” When people talk about mountain-top experiences, I don’t think this is usually what they have in mind. I don’t think they mean they saw the heavens split and the full glory of God revealed in all its terror and grandeur.
In the Gospel story, the veil is lifted under the cloud also for Peter and James and John. They see Jesus shining in glory, and they are overcome with awe, and Peter blurts out, “It is good for us to be here!” But is it? Is it good for them to be there? The next thing they know, the cloud descends and a voice roars, “This is my son, the Beloved—listen to him!” And they are on the ground in terror. In fact, when Peter says, “It is good for us to be here,” the version of the story in Mark adds, “He didn’t know what he was saying,” and Luke’s version says he blurted it out because he didn’t know what else to say. Perhaps the best thing would have been to remain silent.
But these two invitations stand before us as we look toward Lent: Come up here to meet me, and, This is my son, the beloved, listen to him. As we prepare for Lent—as you think about what you might want to give up, or what you might want to take on, as your Lenten disciplines, think about these two invitations. God wants to meet you, in your joy, when all the world seems pierced with divine light, and in your terror, when all seems shrouded by a cloud, while fires burst forth above, threatening to devour. Keep in mind, that at the end of Lent we find Jesus again at prayer, alone with Peter, James, and John, but there he is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he is crying out that the cup of his own destruction might pass from him. If all we had was the revelation on Mount Sinai, the revelation of God’s terrible glory, then we might not be able to see a way beyond all the terror and uncertainty we see in the world every day, we might have no way to overcome the bitterness and hatred in the hearts of our fellow human beings. We might instead panic. We might shout and wail at our fellow human beings, also made in the image and likeness of God, hating in our hearts the very people for whom Jesus gave himself. We might panic, lashing out, casting about for slogans and solutions for ridding ourselves of these bilious, benighted, bigoted people we call our uncles and friends, and sisters and fathers. We might panic, and reach for any weapon we can find—maybe the weapon of words, which do not damage the body, but certainly can damage the soul.
And that is just where Jesus in his perfect freedom, in his transfigured beauty, meets us and lifts us with a tender touch. Did you notice that detail? When the disciples fall down in terror, Jesus comes and touches them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And their eyes were only fixed on Jesus. God wants to meet you, wants to commune with you, wants to share your joys and your pain. But that’s not all. In Jesus, God comes to touch us and lift us. He raises us up and tells us not to fear, but to follow, to trust. And as we are raised out of our panic, the words echo in our ears, “This is my son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased—listen to him.” Listen to him. Listen to him saying, “Love your enemies.” Listen to him saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Listen to him saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Listen to him saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”
As we look toward Lent, what would it mean to “Get up, and not be afraid?” How might you return to God in prayer, to turn to Jesus when you are afraid, and to follow in Jesus’s footsteps spreading joy like a virus, spreading love and mercy, resisting not only injustice, but also resisting fear?
The Rev. Dr. Andrew R. Guffey
19 February 2017
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 Matthew 5:38-48 Psalm 119:33-40
In the name of the One, Holy, and Living God. + AMEN.
“Do you not know that you are God’s Temple and God’s Spirit lives in you?” Or, as Paul will say later in First Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, and that you are not your own?” “For you were bought with a price,” Paul says, “therefore glorify God in your body.” Glorify God in your body. Many preachers I have known seem to think this is about sex. It’s not. Or, it’s not just about sex. It’s about what we do with our bodies every day. We are not just ghosts in machines. Our bodies are gifts that we use to glorify God or to glorify ourselves, to cause pain or to create meaning, and we neglect them entirely at our peril.
Turn the other cheek. Go the extra mile. These were not originally motivational aphorisms that we put on Nike posters. They go along with: give up your coat, give to anyone who asks, love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, and, last but not least, be perfect. Be perfect. The first thing we might ask is, “Can Jesus really be serious?” And once we realize he is dead serious, and stop asking what Jesus must have “really” meant when he said these things, then we have to ask, What exactly is Jesus getting at?
One of the things I think Jesus is trying to tell us is that it does actually matter what we do in and with our bodies. Yes, that includes sex. Certainly. And when it comes to sex, as Christians, the question isn’t really about what we can or cannot do, what we are supposed to do and what we’re not supposed to do. The question that we really need to ask is, How vulnerable am I prepared to be here? Or maybe, how much do I trust that I can blunder my way through this and still be wanted for who I am. The question is not, “Do I hope to marry this person?” That’s a fine question to ask, but that’s only secondary to a much better question: What am I prepared for this to mean? Because it never means nothing. And when it means next to nothing is usually when we experience the most pain and sadness.
There’s so much to say about love, sex, and marriage, and there’s no way I can say it right now. But let me suggest that what is true of sex is true of the ways we use our bodies more generally, that being embodied creatures we find delight and pain only in these bodies of ours, we are loved and rejected, abused and hateful, tender and accepted in these bodies and not apart from them. That is their gift, and that is their risk. That is true of sex. And it is true of how we live, move, and have our being.
For the last few weeks, I have been addressing the seemingly extraordinary times we are living in, and encouraging you to see your resistance to malignant powers as a path of Christian discipleship. The reading from Leviticus for today summarizes what God has been saying through the Scriptures in these past few weeks. Our duty as Christians is to pursue the well-being of the stranger and those who are most vulnerable: in our context, refugees. We are to be impartial in our fight for justice, not privileging only those like us, or giving undue deference to the rich and powerful, nor patronizing or infantilizing the poor. And yet, we must err on the side of mercy. And finally, in our struggle for justice, we are not permitted to hate any one in our hearts.
It is this last one that may seem most difficult. Jesus instructs us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Including Donald Trump, including Steve Bannon or Kellyanne Conway—even including, and I almost hesitate to say it, the accused members of SAE. What can that possibly mean? How is that even a possibility, that we could love perpetrators of violence and assault and those who stir up hatred and exclusion? When Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, does he mean, we are to be passive puppets? Absolutely not!
The Scriptures say we must reprove them—that silence is complicity. We cry out against the damage they inflict as we shelter victims and stand with survivors; we demand just recompense; and we hold them to account. When we are struck on our cheek, we do not buckle and submit, but we exercise all the glorious plasticity of our body, standing in power and showing our tormentor that we will not be complicit in the cycle of violence. In not submitting but refusing to participate in the script that says we must hit back, we point to a different possibility, to ways of being in the world that do not depend on violence and subjugation, but in mutual vulnerability and trust, and, well, love. And we have no right to impose this position on victims; these commands are not for the weak, but for the strong.
That is why we cannot afford to hate our enemies. Because we are called to be holy, as God is holy. That is to say, we are to be different, unnatural. Striving after holiness does not mean we do not burn with anger, that we are somehow above it all. It does not mean remaining aloof or trying to be some sort of disembodied, unconnected, dispassionate ghost. It simply means we reject the scripts that have been written for us.
We must be careful that the demands of justice do not blind us to the brokenness of the oppressors, and we must be careful that our resistance does not make oppressors out of the victims. The Croatian-born theologian Miroslav Volf knew a thing or two about this. Having grown up surrounded by and having lived through the atrocities of the Croatian-Serbian wars, Volf nevertheless wrote his first book on the task of reconciliation—the problem of exclusion and the struggle to embrace. Justice is necessary, he said, but even before the demand for justice must be the will to embrace. Without that prior impulse to love animating it, cries for justice will always be empty. And that is unnatural. Loving our enemies is unnatural. But that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the way of his followers.
We can never accept these times as normal, cannot capitulate to the brutality that is now rampant among us. And yet. And yet, we must live in these days, in these bodies, now and here, as we find in the Gospel according to Mumford and Sons: In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die; where you invest your love, you invest your life. To live lives defined by resistance, or at least, lives circumscribed or constrained only by resistance, is to identify ourselves only by what we stand against, and not be what we stand for.
We put our bodies on the line in protest not because we recoil at what shouldn’t be, but because we see what should be, what could be, indeed, what will be! And this is not it. We put our bodies on a line, praying with our legs, sheltering victims and standing with survivors, not in order to resist evildoers, not because we need to dismantle or destroy those in power, but because we know that, together, we can—we must!—do better. We stand and march and pray as a witness to the world—as a light to the nations—that hate, fear, injustice, callous indifference, hubristic excess and self glorification are not our watchwords, are not life-giving, place us all on a road toward our own destruction. We stand in these bodies as witnesses to truth, justice, mercy, the wisdom of humility—in a word, to love.
The Rev. Dr. Andrew R. Guffey
5 February 2017
Isaiah 58:1-12 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 Matthew 5:13-20 Psalm 112:1-10
In the name of the One, Holy, and Living God. + AMEN.
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5.20).
Last week, I talked about the Beatitudes as a handbook for resistance in these times. I said the Beatitudes stand as a summons—to be peacemakers, to hunger and thirst for justice, in short, to do justice, love mercy, and walk circumspectly with our God. I said that justice is our watchword, and that justice is Good News. And I quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said that for those who mourn, “Sorrow cannot tire them or wear them down, it cannot embitter them or cause them to break down under the strain; far from it, for they bear their sorrow in the strength of him who bears them up, who bore the whole suffering of the world upon the cross. They stand as the bearers of sorrow in the fellowship of the Crucified.” And maybe you were thinking then—maybe you are thinking now—really? How can I not be exhausted by this? I’ve been to three rallies this week, and I’m constantly seeing news about the latest detrimental thing Trump has done! And now I’m supposed to be more righteous than the Pharisees and scribes somehow. That sounds like an awful lot of work.
Last week I quoted a number of biblical passages that talk about treating the refugee as a citizen, about caring for the refugee and the orphan, about showing mercy and doing justice toward those who are the least among us. And today Jesus says, Yes, that’s right. Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
In the context of all of this, Jesus says, “Believe me, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” First, let’s get this out of the way. Jesus is not talking about how to make it to heaven after you die. His view of what the kingdom of heaven is was quite a bit larger than that. By kingdom of heaven, Jesus means, God’s reign, the life of promise that God has held out to us since the beginning of creation, a life of blessing, whether now in this body or beyond the grave. Jesus is talking about what it means to live—to really live—which means to live in the presence of God. When he says “Kingdom of heaven,” Jesus means, what it’s like to live into our greatest joy, our most profound well-being.
Great, let’s assume that’s something we all want. Then, how do we reach out for that joy, for that well-being? One might think following a set of rules could get us there. Isn’t that what the Law is for, the Ten Commandments, the Bible (in a really awful view of what the Bible is for)? Isn’t that what you just said the Beatitudes were last week, Andy?! Guidelines for living according to God’s kingdom? Rules are fine, ordinances are fine. But they depend on something larger.
The historical Pharisees were probably not all that bad, really, but in the story of the Gospels, they are routinely, along with the scribes and legal experts, those who subverted their responsibility by means of the Law—kind of like a rich man claiming he’s going to make America great, but who hasn’t paid any taxes for twenty years or contributed to charities or any other instruments that make for a common good in this country. They were those who could bend the rules to work for them, rather than submitting to and delighting in what is right.
Being righteous, following justice, in other words, does not necessarily mean following the rules. It means be ready and eager to respond to God, always on the look-out for what God is up to in the world.
Consider the text from Isaiah. Again, the message is clear. Being right with God means “removing the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,” it means feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. In other words, our reconciliation with God is bound up with our reconciliation with each other and our ability to love our neighbor—in being eager to respond to the needs of others, in knowing compassion. Here Isaiah is speaking on God’s behalf to God’s people. He is told to “Shout out!” and not to hold back, but to “announce to my people their rebellion.” God says: “Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God.” Elsewhere God says of his people that “they draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13). It’s not a compliment.
They are fasting, making their prayers, following those rules, but they’ve stopped responding—they’ve become unable to respond in compassion—they’ve become irresponsible. God has to draw them back through interrogation: “Is such the fast that I choose…? Is it to bow down your head like a bulrush? Will you call this a fast?” What are you doing?” Look at the refugees at the gate and tell me you wouldn’t swallow the whole damn bowl of Skittles! Hold on to these rules loosely and open up your hearts to my Muslim children. “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and she will say, Here I am.”
So what should we be doing? The answer to that question is actually pretty simple: strive to be a first responder, because that’s who God is and what God is about. God is always doing something—God is always keeping watch with those who work, or watch, or weep, giving rest to the weary, blessing the dying, soothing the suffering, pitying the afflicted, and shielding the joyous. When Jesus says to become more righteous than the Pharisees, he doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pray with your legs, as Howard Thurman would put it, or that you have to march in every march, shout at every rally. But he does mean you have to respond. I pray with my legs a lot more often than I used to, but only because I am responding to God’s invitation. That’s also why I pray, why I sing, why I study. Because allowing myself to remain a passerby or a spectator is rebellion. God is always inviting us to respond, to act for others, especially those most in need, because that is God’s party.
So how is God inviting you to respond? Maybe you are inspired to pray your legs off, or to become Isaiah with your voice sounding out like a trumpet. Maybe you are driven to fight for policy reform, or to become an immigration lawyer, a conservationist, a doctor, or, God forbid, a priest. Where do you see God at work, and how can you use your talents to join that work that God is doing? However it may be, let us encourage one another constantly to choose what is right over following the rules, to get a little salty, and to be lights shining in the darkness!
The Rev. Dr. Andrew R. Guffey
Preached at Vail Chapel, Northwestern University
29 January 2017
Micah 6.1-8 Psalm 15 1 Corinthians 1.18-31 Matthew 5.1-12
In the name of the One, Holy, and Living God. + AMEN.
The Beatitudes. Such a familiar part of Scripture, isn’t it? I used to have a really kitschy little bookmark with all of the beatitudes on it. It’s probably stuffed in one of my books somewhere. Monty Python, of course, had their own take on it: Blessed are the cheesemakers. Well obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; he’s referring to any manufacturers of dairy products. Blessed is the Greek. The Greek? Did anyone get his name? Oh, it’s the meek. Well, that’s nice dear, cause they’ve had a helluva time. You all probably know by now that I’m a fan of Eddie Izzard, too. He has a bit where the Beatitudes become a film: The Meek! They want it all. “What do we want?! The earth. When do we want it? Now!”
They seem rather tame, don’t they? Especially in Matthew. At least in Luke, the Beatitudes are for the poor, not the poor in Spirit, the hungry, not those hungry for righteousness. And the Beatitudes are followed up with a series of curses in Luke. As Reg in puts it in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “Apparently, blessed is anyone with a vested interest in the status quo.” But is that right? What kind of Good News would that be? What do they have to say to us right now?
It’s been another contentious week, hasn’t it? The unrest is only growing. We started the week on Monday, in case you didn’t hear, with a protestor in Seattle apparently shooting another protestor because he thought he was a white supremacist. In fact, as it turns out, the victim had a tattoo of a CROSSED OUT swastika (last I heard he is in stable condition, and they are working to reconcile). But these are the times we are living in; times that make us suspicious of everyone. That sort of suspicion is beholden, ironically, to exactly the same sort of fear that made the President of this country sign an executive order to ban all Muslim refugees.
What do the Beatitudes have to say about this? A LOT, actually! That opening word: Blessed, makarios in Greek, does not mean blessed in the sense of God actively blessing people for something. It means, these people are the fortunate ones and you should be like them. So who are these fortunate ones in God’s eyes?
Fortunte are the poor in spirit, those who do not simply trust in their own powers or wisdom, but given themselves in trust to God, who seek to serve God’s truth and goodness and not presume to be self-righteous, and therefore they will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Fortunate are those who mourn. And who among us is not mourning now? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, pastor, and martyr who resisted the Nazi regime, had a great deal to say about the Beatitudes. Mourning, for Bonhoeffer, meant “refusing to be in tune with the world or to accommodate oneself to its standards.” Another theologian I respect a great deal, talks about a theology of public life, of engagement with public life as Christians, as something we do “during the world.” And he means that in two senses: both in the temporal sense of “while we are in this world” but also in the sense of “enduring the world.” The temptation is to think we will get it just right, that we can make things perfect and rest. But we can’t. It will never be quite perfect, which is why we always need to strive to be better.
And I think that’s why Bonhoeffer also liked how Luther translated the Greek for mourning—as sorrow-bearing. This part is worth reading a bit:
“The disciple community does not shake off sorrow as though it were no concern of its own, but willingly bears it. And in this way they show how close are the bonds which bind them to the rest of humanity. But at the same time they do not go out of their way to look for suffering, or try to contract out of it by adopting an attitude of contempt and disdain. They simply bear the suffering which comes their way as they try to follow Jesus Christ, and bear it for his sake. Sorrow cannot tire them or wear them down, it cannot embitter them or cause them to break down under the strain; far from it, for they bear their sorrow in the strength of him who bears them up, who bore the whole suffering of the world upon the cross. They stand as the bearers of sorrow in the fellowship of the Crucified: they stand as strangers in the world in the power of him who was such a stranger to the world that it crucified him.”
As Christians, we are strangers to a world that says to anyone, “You are unwelcome!” Because Christ said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!”
Fortunate are the meek, fortunate are the pure in heart, fortunate are the peace-makers, because peace is not easy—it must be made. Not coerced, but won through genuine openness to each other. Fortunate are you when you are persecuted on Jesus’s account. Because we are in the fellowship of the Crucified.
But I skipped a couple. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; fortunate are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake. That sounds a little holier than thou, except that word, “Righteousness,” in Greek, that’s the same word for justice. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, and those who are persecuted for the sake of justice. That’s what these Beatitudes are about. These Beatitudes are not simply pronouncing God’s blessing on the downtrod, but they invite all of us to fight for the cause of justice, because in fighting for the cause of justice, and in bearing that form of sorrow we find ourselves in the company of the Crucified, we find ourselves in the company of God.
And this is not a new message to God’s people. Jesus wasn’t making this up on the fly. In the ancient world, ancient Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, etc., there were no laws protecting refugees—foreign dignitaries and important people, yes, but those fleeing oppression, no. But Israel and Judah were different in this respect. They worshipped a God that cared especially for those who were oppressed.
We read it in the book of the Exodus, in no uncertain terms: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans” (Exod. 22:21-24).
We read it in the book of Leviticus: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19.9-10). Again, “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:33-34).
We read it in the book of Deuteronomy: “You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice!” (Deut. 24.17).
Abraham welcomed the strangers and in doing so welcomed God (Genesis 18), because that is the law of love, just as the letter to the Hebrews says, “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained [that is, welcomed] angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13.1-2).
In the Beatitudes, Jesus was laying claim to the heart of the Good News of the Law and the Prophets, which our reading from Micah puts succinctly: “You have been told what is good. And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” What does the LORD require, but that we work for justice in the faith that in doing so we can turn the world, that we exercise mercy out of the great love of God that has been poured into our hearts, and that we do all of this circumspectly, humbly, knowing that it is not our own righteousness that makes us seek justice, but the very mission of God, in which we participate by God’s grace?
The Beatitudes, then, reflect exactly the kind of life we are called to as Christians in all times, not just these. But in these times, such a mission is rightly labeled resistance. We are seeking justice in a time of injustice, demanding mercy in the midst of an unmerciful generation. This message is indeed foolishness to those who currently run Washington. In seeking to become righteous they have been infected by a spirit that is anti-Christ. Because it is not some abstract principle that drives us; it is the God who meets us in love, and bids us welcome.
Jesus was not always kind. You should know that. In the same Gospel as the Beatitudes, Jesus tells a parable about final judgment, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him” (Matt. 25.31-46). First, he turns to one group and says, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” And they ask when they ever saw him hungry or thirst, or whatever. His response: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” But then he turns to the other group and says, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you did not feed me,” etc. And they say, “When did we ever see you hungry or naked or thirty?” And he says, “As often as you did not do it for one of these the least of my family, you did not do it for me.”
With these words in mind, there is really one duty of Christians to the ungenerous and unjust spirit of these times—to resist. Let these Beatitudes remain the foundation for your resistance. Strive to be among the blessed, those who carry themselves with poverty of spirit, attentive to God in prayer. Let that attention to God empower you to carry the sorrow of the world in joy, rejoicing in the company of God who carries that sorrow with you. And let that sorrow drive you to hunger and thirst after justice, in which the alien and the foreigner are welcomed and embraced, in which the poor and the hungry are fed, in which those who flee for their lives are made safe among us.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, trans. R. H. Fuller and Irmgard Booth (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995 ), p. 108.
 Ibid., p. 109.