Sunday’s Scripture – November 1, 2020
Matthew 5-7 records Jesus’s most famous sermon– the Sermon on the Mount. And, it begins with what’s called “the Beatitudes,” or a list of people with certain qualities and experiences that Jesus calls blessed.
The list was probably surprising to those first hearers. And, because it’s a bit counter-intuitive, it may still surprise us today.
Jesus says, blessed are the…
- Poor in spirit
- Those who mourn
- The meek
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
- The merciful
- The pure in heart
- The peacemakers
- The persecuted for sake of righteousness.
Why do we keep thinking that blessedness means comfort, ease, convenience, and prosperity? In fact, based on this list, you could almost make the case that those mean you’re not blessed. Per usual, Jesus flips all our assumptions and expectations on their head. True blessedness is any time or circumstance in which we desperately need God.
The beatitudes are the peculiar experiences and qualities of those belonging to the Kingdom of Heaven. The things listed here are what mark God’s people, the Church. Throughout all time and space, these have been the common qualities and experiences of any who has gone before us in the faith. We call them saints. They are the faithful dead.
November 1st is All Saint’s Day. It is the day in the liturgical calendar that we remember the saints and our call to emulate their example. They are proof that becoming like Jesus is not only commanded, but also possible.
So, if you’ve ever been poor in spirit, or mourned, or been meek. If you’ve ever hungered for the things of God or shown purity or mercy. If you’ve ever faced any kind of opposition because of Christ. Then, Jesus calls you blessed and you are among His saints.
And, if you haven’t, well, maybe it’s time!. We don’t ever go looking for trouble, no. But, if you’re doing this Christian life fully and intentionally and authentically, then at some point– and maybe even quite often– you will find yourself living one or all of the beatitudes. It’s just part of what it means to be a member of the Church, to be a part of Christ’s body, to share in the common bond of the saints.
It probably won’t be comfortable, easy, convenient, or even prosperous necessarily. But, indeed, it will be blessed.
- So, what experience do you have with the beatitudes? Which of them are you experiencing now?
- How do you see this list of qualities and experiences as the mark of the Church? Why these?
- Have you ever thought about your Christian discipleship as the discipline of staying desperate for God? How do you do this?