Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
Verses 1-2: “His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”
Today we begin in the Beatitudes. These “blessed are” statements start off the longest teaching of Jesus recorded in the scriptures. While each statement certainly has meaning and value yet today, we will focus on the whole. Much of Jesus’ teaching pointed to a bigger picture. That is part of what he is doing with the Beatitudes. As a whole these statements paint a vision for the beloved community, for the church. A kingdom-living community of faith will reflect and live out these ideals.
Much of what Jesus said was counter-cultural and it remains so today. To be a peacemaker or to be humble, to be willing to face persecution, to openly desire God – these marks of the Christian are not the norm in the world. To comfort the mourning, to be pure in heart – these are also not the norms of our world. Yet we, as followers of Christ, are called to stand out from the world and to stand up against much of what the world values and pursues. Living out these ideals we will come to stand alongside those that the world devalues and marginalizes. In humble service we will minister to those close to the heart of God. May it be so.
Prayer: Lord God, lead me past self and closer to your heart. Open me to the folks and situations that break your heart. Use me to build up your vision for the world. Amen.