After a weekend of discussing what it means to walk ‘humbly’, Ashwin Thyssen, our keynote speaker, left us with a reading of Nadia Bolz Weber’s version of the Beatitudes. Nadia wonders if, instead of being a list of qualities we should have, these prayers were Jesus showering God’s love and affirmation onto whomever happened to surround him on that specific mountain on that specific day. The kind of people not used to being blessed by society. Many of us at National Gathering have been told we are unworthy of blessings: we went to the wrong church, or were too loud, or were too kind, or too gay, or too trans, or too doubtful. Nadia invites us to create more Beatitudes for the people and circumstances in our life. To me, the National Gathering had blessings around every corner, so here are my Beatitudes for the SCM National Gathering 2023.
Blessed are those that greet you with a smile and offer you fruitella,Blessed are those that travel 13000 km,Blessed are those who start conversations with, ‘I’ve always wanted to ask a Catholic this’.Blessed are those who choose to leave worship with tears in their eyes,Blessed are those that knit, or crochet, or embroider, or fidget so they can hear,Blessed are those that bake flapjacks, brownies and welsh cakes.Blessed are those who preside over Communion with joy,Blessed are those who are committed to the flourishing of all,Blessed are those that show love to a version of themselves that they tried to destroy.Blessed are those who spend dinners discussing nostalgic TV shows,Blessed are those who sit in the quiet, those who hold others’ prayers up to God,Blessed are those who squeeze the hands of strangers in silent solidarity.Blessed are the babies who are unaware of the prayers they are in the midst of,Blessed are those who fight against injustice and oppression, even when it hurts,Blessed are those who draw the line at auctioning off individual limes, but will sell 3 for 50p.Blessed are those who pray through song or through silence andthose that can’t pray and don’t pray,Blessed are those who cannot believe God would do good through them,Blessed are those that sing their babies lullabies of resistance.Blessed are those who build community to prevent the chaos,Blessed are those who are because we are,Blessed are those that step into tomorrow, today.Blessed are the loud, kind, ecumenical, growing, curious, doubtful, queer, anxious people of faith who spent a weekend laughing, thinking, listening, talking, asking, crying, worrying and walking humbly.