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A reliable presence: on Reynolds Price and Jesus’ beatitude

February 1st, 2011 by isaac · 2 Comments

Yesterday I preached about the beatitude of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. It also turned out to be a sermon about Reynolds Price. Here are a couple paragraphs:

So, this passage from Matthew, the beatitudes, can’t be another list of what we can do in order to get God’s blessing. Instead, Jesus is telling us about the way God works in the world. Jesus is telling us in these verses about where God shows up—among the poor in spirit, among the lowly, among the meek and humbled, the humiliated, among those who weep and mourn, among those who cry out for justice and righteousness and are in turn persecuted, among those who work for peace.

Those are the places in the world where God brings a full measure of blessing; those are the people in the world to whom God’s presence rests with a gentle intensity—people like Reynolds Price, struck with cancer, rendered a paraplegic, vulnerable, weak, always in need of someone else’s care, and in these conditions he finds a reliable presence, a presence that tells him to start a new life, to lean into the radical uncertainty of his condition and find the kind of healing and wholeness that takes a lifetime to receive: this is the gift of grace, a moment of God’s blessing, the beatitude of Jesus.

For the rest of the sermon, follow this link to the church website: A Reliable Presence.

Tags: sermons

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jonathan Kelley // Feb 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm


    The imagery of the waterfall is perfect. What’s so surprising about the words of Jesus, is that so often they are less a to do list (which we Americans love—we cherish a sense of accomplishment) and more a reorientation of the eyes. It’s not what we do, but realizing what God has already done and is continuing to do in the pools of grace that we are already wading/swimming in. Then the great irony is actually realizing the location of these pools. And, I think ultimately it is why so many reject Jesus, because the pool of his grace is at the bottom of the ladder.

    Sorry for rambling…

  • 2 isaac // Feb 12, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Hi Jonathan. Good to see you hanging out around here.

    I think you are exactly right about how this passage calls us to “reorient our eyes.” We need new eyes, new vision, new imagination. “Those who have eyes…”

    Thanks for the comment.