So after I posted the prayer of confession this morning I dug into the text (Matthew 5:1-12) and read several blogs and articles about the Beatitudes. I now realize that I got it wrong. Jesus does not call us to do all of that stuff in the Beatitudes. Jesus pronounces blessing on those for whom poverty of spirit, meekness, mourning, purity of heart . . . are a reality.
Since this is the direction my sermon is headed (for now), I could hardly follow it up with a prayer that says “Jesus call us to . . . “. And so here is my revised prayer of confession for Sunday:
Gracious God, we come before you to confess that we have not fully lived out the folly of the Gospel.
You call those who are poor in spirit “blessed,”
yet we often place our own desires over the needs of others.
You call those who mourn “blessed,”
yet we insulate ourselves from the pain that surrounds us.
You call those who are meek “blessed,”
yet we struggle mightily to appear strong and superior.
You call those who thirst for righteousness “blessed,”
yet sometimes we just want to take the easiest path.
You say, “Blessed are the pure in heart,”
yet our hearts are pulled in many directions.
You say, “Blessed are the peacemakers,”
yet we fail to live in peace with those closest to us and we are too often silent about the warring ways of our nation.
Forgive us, O God.