I identify as a queer femme, part of the Chinese-American diaspora, and seek grounding and hope in the Christian faith. My church community was reading through the Beatitudes a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t help but see the contrast between the invitation of the text and the headlines in the news.
This litany is rage-inspired by the US Supreme Court’s recent public charge ruling. Which expanded the government’s ability to refuse green cards or visas for legal immigrants determined to be a “public charge,” or dependent on public assistance.
I write it as a prayer and invitation for myself, reflecting on the ways I am both oppressor and oppressed, cynical and hopeful.
All scripture from the NRSV.
We invite you to read it with a group or in a worship service.
All: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven
One: In a country where we separate families seeking a better life, sending them into a heartless labyrinth of a bureaucracy, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
One: In a legal system where we privilege the loudest, richest, voices, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth
One: When it feels our marching, organizing, and activism are futile in the face of powerful structures, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
One: When we are tempted to hurt and destroy our oppressors, as they have hurt us and our loved ones, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy
One: In a world where we are constantly tempted to pursue our own thriving at the cost of those around us, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
One: In a time where those in power are provoking war and cycles of violence towards their own profit, we remember Your words:
All: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
One: When our efforts to stand for justice and for the dignity of our neighbors impact our livelihoods, relationships, and safety, we remember Your words:
All: 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
I find deep tension and hope in this Gospel reading. Tension, because I see all of the ways that I am caught in and participating in structures that oppress and kill, and the ways I feel helpless and angry in the face of a world that is designed for death. Hope, because this passage reminds me that mercy, righteousness, and abundance will have the final say.