Matthew 5: 1-12
"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 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.' "
From the sermon today at my church (hello Fr. Keith, if you're reading this):
"...The scriptures, the beatitudes especially, present to us an image of excellence that includes depression, shyness, poverty, foolishness, hunger, and ridicule. The Scriptures today tell us to look for excellence in ministry in places, and people, and practices that our 'real' world would label absurd. The Scriptures tell us that God's power, God's excellence, is more likely to be found and experienced at the bottom of the heap than at the top. If that makes no sense to you, don't be surprised. You're a normal American. You have been spoon-fed - or perhaps spoon-shoveled [italics mine] - since birth, the standard capitalist/consumerist vision of excellence. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with that idea of excellence, really. Just don't confuse it with the kingdom of God. [italics mine] Don't confuse power, prestige, wealth, and comfort, the signs of excellence in our world, with the kind of excellence Jesus begs us to consider."
And lastly, to borrow from a book called The Shack ....
the Lord is especially fond of you.