All across the world this weekend, preachers who use the Revised Common Lectionary will be trying to shed new light on one of the most familiar of Gospel readings, the Beatitudes according to Matthew.
I have not yet had a revelation about this passage, and that has led me to fall back on trying to listen in a new way. In a sense, I am taking the advice of Pastor Brian Stoffregen who reminds his readers that this passage is the opening act of a significant teaching, the Sermon on the Mount. Context is everything and the Beatitudes are part of this teaching.
How do we as present disciples imagine this rather intimate instruction at Jesus’ feet. I imagine Jesus taking us aside, looking at us carefully, and beginning. He has sized us up and pegs what is on our minds. He speaks to our varied places on the spiritual journey, and encourages us. As someone offered in Wednesday’s Bible Study: “Any one of us could be any one of these (poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry for the life with God, peacemakers, persecuted) or all of them – or none of them – at any given time. ”
My personal reflection is about where I am on that journey and what encouragement I long for.
This week, at each service, we celebrate a mile marker on the journey for some who have decided to join St. Paul’s. We will pray that we may be woven together joyfully in the fabric of faith, in the same way that we see Jesus disciples being woven together with him. The Beatitudes is the first act.