Spend some time preparing to meet with God. Still yourself, move away from your phone and switch your music off. Take a few moments of quiet before you read today’s passage.
This is the start of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. Because Jesus delivered it from a mountainside. It’s probably the best known of Jesus’ teaching, but oddly enough, it’s probably also the most controversial.
The first part of the sermon is known as the Beatitudes, simply because each verse starts with the words “Blessed” which is Beatitudo in Latin, so the name stuck, as the only European Bibles were in Latin for many centuries.
The reason that they are controversial is because they say the opposite of what you might expect. Blessed/happy are the people who are poor – not the rich. Happy are those who mourn, happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, are meek, the merciful, the peacemakers, those who are insulted and so on. These are never the people who the world would normally consider to be blessed. We like celebrities and money and beauty instead.
But what would life be really like if we were to live these things out? What if we were to be radical disciples, valuing the things that seem small and unseen, turning the other cheek and forgiving people who hurt us? Being the people who stand for peace and justice and care for the poor? Actually, it’s about doing those things, but also recognising that the people who don’t have are just as happy and blessed by God (if not more so) than the people who have. Just imagine what the world could be like.
Sometimes people say that Jesus’ kingdom – the Kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. It’s a place where wrongs are made right and the little people are the big people. Where are you seeing that kingdom breaking through in your life?
Lord God thank you that you care for the little and the lost and the needy. Thank you that your values are those of flourishing, of peace and of unity. Help us to see your kingdom come today. Amen.
What can you do today to value what God values in this world?