The Beatitudes

“Blessed are you…” Matthew 5:1-12
To be a Christian is to live the beatitudes. In Matthews gospel Jesus is telling us, “if you are looking for me later, how to be like me after I’m gone, don’t go looking in the tomb, don’t look toward heaven, but go be with the poor in spirit, with those who mourn, with the meek, those who hunger, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted.”
The Beatitudes are Jesus. In Matthews gospel Jesus is poor in sprit, he mourns at the death of Lazarus and as he is in the garden of Gethsemane. He’s meek when he’s falsely accused and yet says nothing, He thirsts on the cross. He’s merciful when he says, “Father Forgive them...” He’s pure in heart when he says, “Not my will but yours” He’s a peacemaker when he tells peter to put away his sword. He’s persecuted and reviled by the priests, scribes, soldiers and bystanders during the entire passion story.
As Rev. Dr. Sam Wells notes, every beatitude comes in three parts. There’s the first part, which is a description of the cross, it’s thirsty, its meek, its merciful, its persecuted. Then there is the last part which is a resurrection promise. “They will be comforted…They will inherit the earth… they will be filled…they will receive mercy… they will be called children of God…theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ”
To be a Christian is to live in Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Between the cross and resurrection lies a comma. Every Beatitude has a comma in the middle. Wells beautifully suggests that pause- that place where the cross and the resurrection meet, that is your life as a Christian. “To be a Christian is to dwell in that comma that lies between the first and second half of each beatitude. That comma is your home on earth…That comma is where you find Jesus.”
That place is in our own backyards, it is in Gaza and those mourning the catastrophic loss of life, it is in the personhood of the refugee, the foreigner, the unhoused, the downcast, the depressed, the lonely, with those protesting war and violence, and the degradation of our planet… “This is where we meet Jesus. This is Christianity and where to find and live it. This is Blessedness. Blessed are you. “
Excerpts taken from “Dwelling in the Comma” A sermon preached by Revd Dr. Sam Wells January 30, 2011.
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