Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Luke 6:17; 20-26

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you,
revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven;
for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
‘But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
‘Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.
‘Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
‘Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
Devotional
One of the Catholic churches in my community posted a picture to their Facebook page today showing empty shelves in their food pantry. After a morning of food distribution there was almost no food left for the mid-week distribution. The post was pleading with our community to please donate food so that others will not be hungry. 

So many things about the photo were upsetting. First, that there isn’t a better way to more equitably distribute necessities like food seems so backwards. Beyond that, though, it is upsetting that the shelves could ever possibly be empty in our relatively wealthy community. We collectively have enough resources to make sure that the shelves are never bare.

The beatitudes, or “blessings,” assure us that we are always valued and affirmed in God’s eyes. The poor and hungry are not pitied before God as they sometimes are in our social circles. Although we often treat people with fewer resources as though they are “low class,” God does not. 

The assurance of God’s blessing does not mean that the kingdom of God levels all the unevenness of our social hierarchies. We are called to be caretakers of each other, a calling that is part of who we were created to be in Genesis 2. We are partners with God in repairing the brokenness and unfairness we experience in our world. God’s affirmation of the worth and value of every human will not fill bellies or house people. We have to uphold our responsibility to each other and meet God’s blessing with the tangible evidence of human dignity and worth.
Prayer
Give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness; fill our hearts with love, overflowing with mercy; make our hearts pure, and give us a vision of your glory. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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