January - A Beatitude Synod
Read the following Scripture:
1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
This is gospel that I choose for my installation as the Bishop of the Central States Synod. In her sermon on that day the preacher, Rev. Linda Anderson-Little, calls us to be a “beatitude” synod with a “beatitude” bishop. In the midst of so many changes since that event over a year ago, I continue to come back to the question of what it means to be a beatitude synod – to be “alternative” communities of blessings, where people on the fringe experience not only welcome, but respect; where there is room and space for people to be real and honest in their pain and struggles, to mourn and leap, where we do indeed see God and through our participation in God’s mission, enable others to see God. How might we as congregations and ministries and the people of the Central States Synod, here in Kansas and Missouri be a “light for the world” so that all can see the amazing abundance and grace and glory of God?
- Bishop Susan Candea
Allow some silence to reflect on the text and then discuss the following questions:
How would you describe a “beatitude” synod?
What are some of the “qualities” or “values” necessary to be a “beatitude” synod?
How are we being called to let our lights shine in these days?
If you are willing, we invite you to share your responses
Close with the following prayer:
Holy God, you confound the world’s wisdom in giving your kingdom to the lowly and pure in heart. Give us such a hunger and thirst for justice, and perseverance in striving for peace, that in our words and deeds the world may see the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.