Barbara Saathoff is one of the kindest and gentlest human beings I’ve ever known. Her passion for the marginalized voices of humanity is humbling to me personally and a model to which we all should aspire. She lives in Texas with her husband, Brent, and is mom to Sean and Anna.
Blessed are the mothers that worry for their black sons every time they leave the house.
Blessed are the overworked and overstressed healthcare workers, taking extra shifts to save the lives of those with Covid-19.
Blessed are the waiters, cooks, and bartenders that have no income right now.
Blessed is the hospital janitor, that spends his days ensuring that the sick have a sanitary place to heal.
Blessed is the mother of Breonna Taylor, an EMT and aspiring nurse, a young black woman killed by police in her own home on March 13, 2020.
Blessed is the Navajo Nation at risk for Covid-19 and still does not have access to basic necessities such as food and running water in some communities.
Blessed are the homeless that were displaced after shelters shut down.
Blessed are the wrongly convicted.
Blessed are the convicted that made their mistakes but are now at risk of death due to the pandemic.
Blessed are law enforcement officers that make life and death decisions every day.
Blessed are military personnel that answer the call to deploy.
Blessed are the elderly in nursing homes that are confined to their rooms.
Blessed are the high school and college seniors that don’t get to celebrate their accomplishments in a graduation ceremony.
Blessed are Asian Americans that have to endure the shouts of angry white Americans defending their right to call this pandemic the “Chinese Virus.”
Blessed are the parents of very ill children.
I can go on and on into some very dark spaces. I am reflecting on the teaching of Jesus, wherein he referred to the poor, the weak, the weary as “blessed.”
Perhaps, his intention was not to correct the idea of what it means to be blessed, but rather expand it. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?
He expanded borders of tightly held beliefs of who is in and who is out.
He broke down societal walls.
He spoke to women.
He made the enemy Samaritan the hero of the story.
He touched the untouchable.
He defended the indefensible.
He healed the un-healable.
He befriended the friendless and approached the unapproachable.
When it comes to following Jesus, we are called to compassion, service, humility, and kindness. Instead, it seems we think we are called to protest, condemn, criticize, and conquer.
Several months ago, I was awakened with the thought, “we create God in our image.” It was as if the thought itself woke me up. I don’t remember that ever happening before and it hasn’t happened since. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on that statement.
If God is a god of love, creation, communion, why do we make him a god of wrath, violence, and retribution?
Perhaps, we have created God in our image.