The blessings below were written by the members of Forefront Brooklyn in attendance on Sunday, February 7th, 2016. (Listen to the message here.) They were inspired by the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount and by the writing of Nadia Bolz-Weber in her book Accidental Saints.
We dedicate these "Brooklyn Beatitudes" to every one of us who needs to know our stories do not disqualify us from participating in God's Kingdom. You are loved.
Blessed are those who get taken advantage of, who’ve spent years just trying to get by, for whom nothing is ever easy in life. For it’s in the spaces where we don’t have everything together that God’s presence is felt.
Blessed are the gamblers, chasing the next high, losing another grand and pinching coins for the morning-after coffee.
Blessed are the recovering addicts, the bawdy, the drunks, who struggle to keep at sobriety. Blessed too are the addicts who’ve yet to hit rock bottom, who get too easily caught in a cycle of addiction.
Blessed are the single ones, for they have more time to reflect with God and focus on His validation for them, rather than a partner’s.
Blessed are the ones looking for love and worth in all the wrong places, who feel like they aren’t enough, who feel unworthy of accepting or receiving love.
Blessed are the broken and abandoned, the ones who’ve been cheated on, betrayed and abused, who feel powerless to the evil they witness in this world.
You are loved and you are of heaven.
Blessed are the depressed, the manic depressed, the uninspired, the mentally ill, those who are numb and stuck for years in the haze.
Blessed are those who are convinced they are unlovable because of their past and unforgivable because of their track record.
Blessed are the ones at the crossroads, conflicted on how to make the right decision, how to hear God among the many voices, who don’t yet know Jesus stands on the road with them, loving them no matter which road they take.
Blessed are the ones who need help having the ability to walk away from sin, who need to hear God will love them and provide for them even if they choose wrong.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those believers who doubt, who struggle daily in spirit and faith, who sometimes curse the day they were born.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who have been impacted by cancer again and again and again.
Blessed are the sick and unhealthy and weak in physical abilities. May God, the giver of all life, provide them the health and wellness they so long for.
Blessed are the fatherless. May they know they are loved beyond measure by their Father in heaven.
Blessed are the unborn and the mothers and fathers of miscarried and aborted babies who suffer a ghostly grief in silence and shame. Jesus mourns with you.
Blessed are the ones who are vulnerable and hurt, who are going through a storm and who feel all alone. May they know Jesus is beside them, ready to calm the storm, to help pick up the pieces when they are ready to start the journey again.
Blessed are the ones who mourn, grieve, are sad and can’t be, because they’re supposed to be the strong ones, the glue that keeps the family from falling to pieces.
Blessed are those who have suffered and not found peace for the pain, for those whose memories are often overbearing, distracting, and overwhelming.
Blessed are the ones “who just aren’t over it yet.”
May they know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
Blessed are the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
Blessed are the boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, who struggle to love each other like Jesus on a daily basis.
Blessed are those who seem to mess up time and time and time again, who have come to know darkness yet still call on the Lord.
Blessed are the overworked and underpaid, the entrepreneurs who struggle, still trying to trust that God will provide for them even though they work on an “un-level playing field.”
Blessed are the women who balance marriage, careers, and motherhood.
Blessed are the mothers that do it all alone, who care for their children and at times feel like no one knows their pain. Jesus loves you and you are of heaven.
Blessed are the women over thirty.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are the ones who are ignored and unrecognized, who never stand out or share their story. God sees you and loves you whatever your circumstances.
Blessed are the college drop-outs, still striving and grinding for that degree with students and classmates half their age.
Blessed are the “unaccomplished,” who have not made their mark in life, who don’t know what they want to do or if they have the ability to do it. May they be free of thinking their accomplishments define them.
Blessed are the people who are unsure of themselves, their direction and passion, the ones who have lost their way. May they know God still hears and guides them.
Blessed are the perfectionists and the ones who try so hard to be perfect in order to protect themselves from feeling the truth of who they are, who cannot be honest enough with themselves to find the courage to be free from that which oppresses them from within.
Blessed are those who trust in God, for He knows and meets their needs before they even know what they need.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the ones struggling to forgive and reconcile with someone else, who’ve had to learn there is grace in drawing hard boundaries, who need courage to stop pushing aside the personal hurt so they might stand in the pain and know mercy.
Blessed are the ones who judge others too quickly and the ones who live everyday with an underlying fear of the judgement of others. May they all see God’s merciful face in each other.
Blessed are the selfish ones, the cheaters and betrayers, the lazy ones, the narrow-minded, power-hungry, stubborn and hard-hearted.
Blessed are those who have the Lord and no one else.
You are loved and you are of heaven.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the men in khaki pants.
Blessed are the rich, the people with trust funds, the Duane Reades, the banks, the Chipotles - the big businesses who've changed New York.
Blessed are the stressed ones, the worriers, and over-thinkers. May they find comfort in knowing God has not forgotten them.
Blessed are the young and anxious, the impatient and untrusting, the ones with fear at what the future holds, who fear they’ll never be loved.
Blessed are those who find anxiety in rest, who have a hard time saying “no,” who struggle to find a healthy balance of what they want to do and what they feel they should do.
Blessed are those who love recklessly and believe in sacrifice, who love unconditionally even when it hurts, who’ve managed to have enough faith to put down every weapon and choose life.
Blessed are the ones who are hardened but hope and pray they will be softened again, who know there is an end to the pain and loneliness, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who know the name of the homeless people on their street.
Blessed are those who always give up their seats on the subway.
Blessed are the unemployed friends who use their time to take care of their hospitalized neighbors.
Blessed are the humble and patient, who listen so well and actively care about others, the ones who give of themselves and what they have often with no reward in sight.
Blessed are the peacemakers, the ones unafraid to step into difficult relationships seeking peace, for they will be called “children of God.”
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the dreamers for they will help God’s people continually evolve.
Blessed are those who recognize the miracle of the sunrise and look forward to finding the good in every heart.
Rejoice and be glad!
Rejoice and be glad!
Rejoice and be glad, for our heavenly Father blesses us all. Great is your reward in heaven.
Blessed are our children, our loves - you stunning, imperfect monuments of creation. May you know Jesus always stands beside you. Thank you for blessing us with your art.