“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1 – 11 (NKJV)
Our scripture passage is longer than I typically try to have for my blog posts. But as I was trying to decide what to leave in and what to omit…I realized I needed to use the entire passage. Because I think we are all in need of being blessed.
This passage has come to be known as the Beatitudes and it is part of what we know as the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, the very first thing we see Jesus do after seeing the multitudes of people gathering to hear him speak, is to begin by blessing the people. These rag tag multitudes who are from all walks of life and have gathered because they know in their hearts that the one thing they need more than anything, is what this itinerant preacher can offer. Many of those gathered, have never felt the balm of blessing. They are people who live on the margins and who for them life is just hard.
How many people in our world today need a blessing? I know I do. There are days that just seem endless as I move from one activity to the next. I am sure you have those days as well. They usually end when we fall into bed exhausted only to hear the ringing of our morning alarm way too soon the next morning as we fall out of bed and begin a new day.
The idea of being blest may seem corny, but I will tell you on the occasions that someone has intentionally given me a blessing, it lifts my spirit, it gives me an overall sense of well-being, and I typically come away feeling better about everything. And that includes those hurly-burly, crazy, hectic, days we sometimes have.
When we look closely at the blessings Jesus gave, they were not for the people who are revered in society. People who seem to have it all and for whom our culture caters to in every way. In our modern times, they would be young, beautiful, and rich. Which means that anyone who is not…is less than. Jesus turns that upside down saying “NO” all people are worthy of being blest. All people are loved and all people are deserving of the basics in life (clothing, food, and shelter) at the very least. And the most important fact, is that ALL people are loved by God.
The very sad thing is we don’t bless the very people who need it most. The ones who live in the margins of our world. The questions become: Who needs us to be a loving and non-judgmental presence? Who needs our blessings? It is the teenager who doesn’t feel they fit in anywhere. It is the drug addict or alcoholic. It is the prostitute. It is the child who is beaten and abused by their parent(s). It is the mother who miscarried and whose arms are empty. It is the elderly whose family doesn’t visit. It is the homeless, the lonely, the unseen, the angry, the forgotten. And no matter what, God loves them and sees them, and cares about them and wants us to love them and see them and care about them too as we offer blessings to ALL people. And blessings aren’t just words we say but the actions we take.
Blessed are those who see the people around them and offer grace and mercy for they too will be blessed.