“Happy are those . . .” Garnet Raven shows us that happiness is a complex state not easily achieved. The kind of happiness referred to in Psalm 1 is partially captured in Wagamese’s slang term “Lookin’ Jake.” Lookin’ Jake means getting right on the inside, learning and following the teachings of tradition and using ceremony and ritual to go deeper, to the point that others might notice a change on the outside. Happiness comes when we can heal the wounds of the tragedies for which we are not responsible and resolve the sins that result from those wounds. Lookin’ Jake is the true way to happiness.

In Wagamese’s writing, the tragedies that leave his characters wounded—tragedies enacted by government, culture, society, community, and even family—also leave the characters lost. The condition of being lost can lead to what Christians call sin. In his profundity, Wagamese weaves a complex web that links tragedy, sorrow, helpful and problematic behavior, and happiness.

Psalm 1 and Luke 6:22, 26 encourage us to stop relying on our façades, our reputation, or our achievements to hide from our wounds. The psalmist encourages us to meditate on the teachings of God day and night to make ourselves right. Knowing God reveals the way of blessedness. In Luke, Jesus teaches that notoriety for personal works leads to wickedness; it is better to be defamed “on account of the Son of Man”—to be reviled for being right on the inside. Right living will bring prosperity—not external but eternal prosperity. The wicked ultimately will not judge us. Rather, that act lies with the God to whom we have turned, our God of goodness and mercy. Psalm 1 reassures us that God watches over the way of the righteous.

Let your reassurance sink into my heart, O God. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 6:17-26

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Lectionary Week
February 11–17, 2019
Scripture Overview

God wants us to be rooted firmly in our faith. Jeremiah contrasts those who put their trust in themselves with those who trust in God. The latter are like healthy trees with deep roots and a constant water supply, never in danger of drying up or dying. The psalmist uses the same image to describe those who meditate on God’s teachings. Thus, as you do these daily readings and reflect on them, you are sinking deep roots into fertile soil. Agricultural imagery is continued in Paul’s letter. Paul describes Jesus Christ risen in the flesh as the first fruit, meaning that he is the first of many who will be resurrected. In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, worldly success is not necessarily an indication of God’s blessing.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 17:5-10. Examine your heart. Do you place your trust in “mere mortals” or in the Lord?
Read Psalm 1. How do you seek to meditate on God’s word day and night?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. How has your understanding of the resurrection of the dead changed your living?
Read Luke 6:17-26. How do you hold together the paradoxes of Jesus’ blessings and woes?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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