SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:1-12
At the preschool Chapel time we talked about Be Attitudes, like be happy, be friendly, be nice, be kind, be forgiving, be good, be helpful, be caring, be loving. This was one way to describe the people of God, who follow Jesus. And yet, we often times look at this as what we need to do in order to receive blessing from God. In the nearness of the reign of God, these are the blessings that come to us with God’s rule over us irregardless of what we do. Blessings are not contingent on our behavior or what we do. A Blessing is God’s free gifts to us. Being Blessed is a sign of our covenant relationship with God.
The poor in spirit, are those who are empty spiritually. They maybe broken with little hope. Like those who mourn. They have loved and lost and their lost has made them empty. The meek are those who have remained silent. They are none confrontative but deprived. Just as those who hunger and thirst of righteousness, the justice that they desire eludes them and they are empty. Can you imagine being a refugee who is apply to enter the United States, having gone through a rigorous process and been granted a visa but now is stopped from going forward for the next 120 days because of an executive order? The hunger for a righteousness to let them come into our country. It is not what they
are doing that makes them deserving of blessing but, it is the reign of God that blesses us. Look at how God blesses them, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven, they will be comforted in their loss, they will inherit the earth, and they will be fill with what is right.
The second half of the beatitudes are about those who are acting in ways according with the reign of God by being merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and advocating for what is right. They will have mercy, they will see God, they will
be called children of God and they belong to the reign of God.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ radical vision of what God’s reign on earth could look like. It is a vision of wholeness for all people. Jesus expresses what it is like to live in our work a day world with God. What blessings does the
nearness of God’s reign brings in us and to others? The Beatitudes seem to be divided into two groups dealing with those who are empty and then with those who are engaged in the activity of God’s justice. Both are blessed by God’s sheer gift of the reign of God. Brokenness allows us to receive from God’s promise and grace. We have hope in the midst of emptiness.
We have a future beyond the circumstances we presently find our selves in. God is gracious and abundant in the promises given to us. Here is Jesus who comes to reveal the in breaking of God’s abundant life. Those that are down trodden, weak, and marginalized have hope in God’s future for all. Then there are those who are doing the work of justice. Walter Brueggemen made this comment on the Micah passage but it describes our participation in the works of justice described here in the beatitudes. “Do justice: to be actively engaged in the redistribution of power in the world, to correct the systemic inequalities that marginalize some for the excessive enhancement of others.” When we learn God’s truth, then we need to find practical ways of living it. The pipeline in South Dakota is being looked at again to put steelworkers back to work, to bring oil from Canada to Texas, over the concerns of protection a native american holy site and clean water. We see this, as fear is the motivation for prejudice to keep those traveling from muslim countries from crossing our
boarders. Or the appointment of people to positions where they have no expertise to create a particular governmental profile. At yesterday’s Winter Aha Makua meeting, someone asked me if the TIA can have a prophetic voice to speak to these issues. What is it the bible tells us about the immigrant and sojourner among us. How are we to treat those who are
different from ourselves? Why does the pursuit of money trump any other values? At the Fall Aha Makua we sat around round tables and had a discussion on Black Lives Matter. What do the Beatitudes tell us about how to treat those
who are empty and to approach the injustices we see in our community, our nation and the world? An easy way to begin to get a perspective on what is happening in our nation and world is to go to National Public Radio. Their reporting is not based on selling a national brand of product so they are frees to report the news without biased. The other source that gives us a faithful perspective is Sojourner Magazine. They read the new through the perspective of our Christian faith and
what the Bible says about this. This gives us a handle on how to begin to wrestle with these tough issues before us.
The beatitudes is not just about being nice, but there is an edge to them, that the presence of the rule of God brings. It fills us with hope when we are empty. But it also calls us to action to deal with the inequities in our world and the marginalization of neighbors over the excessive enhancement of others.