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Friday 27 September 2019 – Blessed are..

Matthew 5:1  When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2  Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

Mat 5:3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mat 5:5  “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Mat 5:6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Mat 5:7  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Mat 5:8  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Mat 5:9  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Mat 5:10  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11  “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Matthew and Luke[1] record these sayings of Jesus. These have the feeling of sayings that have been remembered by rote. And at first glance these sayings are complete nonsense! How is it possible for the poor, the bereaved, the hungry and the persecuted to be called “blessed”. These were the people who experienced life as the “cursed”. Certainly the culture of Jesus day would have pointed to their misfortune and asked what they had done to deserve God’s displeasure.

And this is the point of Jesus teaching: that those who we think of as “cursed” are in fact the precious ones of God. God takes special notice of those who find themselves on the margins of society. The persistent challenge for us who follow the ways of Jesus is the reminder that God loves those rejected by society. While societal norms are for us to reject those on the margins, our Christian norms invite us to embrace the poor, the sick, the weak and the persecuted.

Ordinary 22 / Pentecost +15

44 True Greatness

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 271.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day
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[1] 6:20-23

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)