Dear Friends,

 We hope that you are safe and well.

 Today's Meditation features Barbara Brown Taylor reflecting on the Beatitudes and reminding us "Heaven Begins Now." Or as Catherine of Siena would say: "All the way to heaven is heaven!"

 We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION: Barbara Brown Taylor: Heaven Begins Now

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside,

and after Jesus had sat down, the disciples gathered around.

He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are those who know their need,

for theirs is the grace of heaven.

Blessed are they who weep,

for their tears will be wiped away.

Blessed are the humble,

for they are close to the sacred earth.

Blessed are the forgiving,

for they will be free.

Blessed are the clear of heart,

for they will see the Living Presence.

Blessed are they who suffer for what is right,

for theirs is the strength of heaven.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they are born of God. (tr.John Philip Newell)

Heaven Begins Now

[N]otice that the first words out of Jesus’ mouth are not “Blessed shall be” but “Blessed are.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit”—not because of something that will happen to them later but because of what their poverty opens up in them right now. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”—not because God is going to fill them up later but because their appetites are so fine-tuned right now. The second half of the sentences still matter—the future promises still hold—but the blessings in the first half are not deferred. Heaven begins now, for any saints willing to sign up.

When people who can’t stop crying hear Jesus call them blessed right in the basement of their grief, they realize this isn’t something they are supposed to get over soon. This is what it looks like to have a blessed and broken heart. . . .

This is what the Beatitudes have to do with real life. They describe a view of reality in which the least likely candidates are revealed to be extremely fortunate in the divine economy of things, not only later but right now. They are Jesus’ truth claims for all time, the basis of everything that follows, which everyone who hears them is free to accept, reject, or neglect. Whatever you believe about him, believe this about you: the things that seem to be going most wrong for you may in fact be the things that are going most right. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to fix them. It just means that they may need blessing as much as they need fixing, since the blessing is already right there.

If you can breathe into it—well, that’s when heaven comes to earth, because earth is where heaven starts, for all who are willing to live into it right now.

Barbara Brown Taylor, Always a Guest

Barbara Brown Taylor is a best-selling author, professor, and Episcopal priest.