Blessed Be

Today our Holy Land pilgrimage will take us to the Mount of Beatitudes, the traditional site where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount.  The Beatitudes are found in the first few verses of Matthew chapter 5: 

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When you read these "Blesseds" it's easy to overlook how radical they truly are.  Think about it.  Jesus said that you are blessed when you are downtrodden, mourning, meek, and spiritual dry.  Okay.  

And then he goes on to say that if you are merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker and someone who endures persecution, insults and hatred for Jesus' sake, you are also blessed.  

I don't know about you, but none of that sounds very awesome, and most of it sounds downright impossible to attain.  

If I wrote the Beatitudes, they would probably go something like this: 

Blessed are those who are rich--with money as well as confidence. 
Blessed are those who are untouched by loss. 
Blessed are the powerful. 
Blessed are those who are "realistic" about righteousness, compromising at ever turn. 
Blessed are those who demand and exact eye for an eye when they are wronged. 
Blessed are those bold enough to make war and crafty enough to justify it. 
Blessed are those who do good things in order to hear applause. 

Blessed are those who use the name of Jesus to become adored and widely praised by everyone. 

Following Jesus means that you have to see the world differently.  Jesus turns the world upside down.  Those who are first, will be last and the last will be first.  It seems like foolishness to a culture perpetually drunk on winning.  

May the Beatitudes challenge you today to be less in the eyes of this world in order to show Jesus more.  May they give you a blueprint for a new kind life lived free from the seductive power of success.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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