Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

A Message from our Conference Minister (excerpt)

Tyler Connoley 2020I've been thinking about the Beatitudes lately, because I've heard them compared to the statement: Black Lives Matter. Jesus didn't get up on a hill and say, "All of you are blessed," because he knew a lot of us would assume all didn't mean all. For many of us, circumstances and society teach us that we are not blessed and we don't matter. That's why it's important to be specific.

I've also become aware how much I need some of those specific blessings right now. It may be that you need them too.

Blessed are you who are poor in spirit.

I know so many people who are living on the edge right now. Nerves are frazzled from months home alone -- or home with people who need care. Energies are low from the daily barrage of bad news. Living with constant uncertainty is psychologically exhausting. In the midst of all this, God's Spirit feels distant for many of us. With spirits so low, it's sometimes hard to imagine you could be blessed or a blessing. If this is you, the realm of heaven is yours. The beloved community has a place for you. Your poor spirits make you exactly the people who belong in the kin-dom.

Blessed are you who mourn.

There is so much to grieve right now. We grieve our lost friends and family. We grieve our lost income and security. We grieve the oppression and sins of our ancestors that put us in the place we are today. For some of us, we grieve the pain we continue to feel as we demand just structures. For others, we grieve the loss of institutions we thought were good. There is so much grief right now. You who grieve will be made glad. Hold onto that blessing.

Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for justice.

We are in a moment of deep hunger for justice. Our people long for the biblical righteousness that is rooted in right relationships -- the kind of righteousness Dr. Cornel West points to when he says, "Justice is what love looks like in public." It may seem strange that the hunger is more intense in this moment when justice is arriving. Statues built as idols to white supremacy topple. Churches and faith leaders are finally making concrete commitments to antiracist work. But the thing about giving a starving person a few bites of food is that it only highlights their deep hunger. You who hunger for justice the gnawing is deeper than ever, but this is the promise: You will be satisfied. The banquet of justice is closer every day.

You are blessed, and you are a blessing.

You. Each of you. Every one of you is blessed.


Rev. Tyler Connoley, Conference Minister
Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ