Jesus loves to turn things all "topsy-turvy." This week's reading from Luke 6:17-26 isn't out of that character at all.
This week's Bible reading from Luke 6:17-26 is very similar to the "Beatitudes" from Matthew 5:3-12. There are fewer "Blessed are"s however -- and they are accompanied by corresponding "Woes".
In the Luke reading, Jesus takes a common societal idea and turns it upside down. The poor are blessed and the rich will have trouble. The hungry will be full and the full will be hungry. The weeping will laugh and the laughing will weep. Finally, the hated and despised will rejoice and the well thought of have trouble coming.
The idea that Jesus shows favor on those who society looks down on isn't present only here, but it seems present throughout Jesus ministry. I guess it's not even that profound to think about, since restoration, forgiveness and unconditional love are such a part of what we believe as followers of Jesus.
This passage makes me think of other things that following Jesus turns upside-down, too.
Here are a couple of quotes from an essay by Tom Peterson. I think it captures the flavor of what Jesus inspired in the Luke reading.
I dreamed the other night that all the maps in the world had been turned upside down. Library atlases, roadmaps of Cincinnati, wall-sized maps in the war rooms of the great nations, even antique maps with such inscriptions as "Here be Dragons" were flipped over. What had been north was now south, east was west.The whole essay can be found here.
Like a glob of melting vanilla ice cream, Antarctica now capped schoolroom globes.
In my dream, I saw child crying in Calcutta. Her parents wouldn't buy her any more video games until her birthday. I saw her mother drive to the supermarket and load her cart with frozen and junk food, vegetables, cheese, meat, and women's magazines.
I also saw a mother in Houston baking bread in an earthen oven. She had been crying because there were no more beans for her family. One of her children listlessly watched her. He was a blond boy, about six years old. He slowly turned his empty, haunting gaze toward me.
What are your thoughts on how Jesus turns our world upside-down?