New Testament Reading-Matthew 5: 1-12
My plan for this morning was to preach a sermon that would lift up the life of Meena Keshwar Kamal, a woman who devoted 12 years of her short 30-year life to the struggle for peace and women’s rights in Afghanistan.[i] My fear, however, was that many of you might react to her story the way the poet Shilja Patel reacted when someone suggested that she read Meena’s biography. She responded, “I don’t want to hear more horrors and feel even more despair than I already do over the oppression of women in the world.” Eventually, out of guilt, she “picked up the book intending to flip through it as quickly as possible.”[ii] To her surprise, she found herself riveted and ultimately inspired.
New Testament Scripture Reading-Luke 8: 4-15
More than 25 years ago, a couple of gringos landed in Vicente Guerrero, a rural village in Tlaxcala, Mexico. The village consisted principally of peasant farmers who depended on small plots of land for their survival. The land unfortunately was not in a giving mood. Under a thin layer of topsoil, the ground was like “brick.”[i] With a sprinkle of chemical fertilizer and lots of pesticide, the farmers worked hard to bring forth whatever low yields they could.