Scripture: Matthew 5:5-12 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Thoughts:  Over the past month I’ve been opening my Bible and reading through the Beatitudes twice a day. It doesn’t take long but I have found a lot of food for thought by doing this so often. My inspiration to take up this practice was when I learned that Ghandi read the Beatitudes twice a day too. He was not a Christian, but he still had great respect for these words of Jesus. It has been said that he founded his non-violent movement for peace and justice upon the Beatitudes..

By reading through them daily I have also been struck by their beauty and insight. They are a mission and vision statement, authored by Jesus, for Christians and the church through all ages. Just think what would the world be like if every Christians was meek, merciful and pure in heart. How would you be challenged, if Christ called you to be both a peace-maker and a defender of righteousness?

Over the course of the month I think I see the Beatitudes leading me to be a bridge builder who is meant to carry the message of a “third way.” It is a way that moves Christians beyond the “me vs. them” wrestling matches into which we fall, and seeks to span the distance between us. I really want to do this even though I know bridge-building is hard work. Richard Rohr says, “The joy of serving as a bridge is that you get walked on by both sides. But the goal of being a bridge is to end strife by creating an opportunity for a transformation of the heart.” That may be lofty thinking for Friday morning.

Still, Jesus is using the Beatitudes to take me on a journey. While the focus of Christianity may be to gain converts, there is another equally great challenge. It is for Christians to align their lives with the deep ways of Jesus. We can be people who clearly care for each other and for God’s world too. Some days it’s hard to dream of a harmonious and peaceful world. But the Beatitudes renew my desire to strive for that very thing. All of us can be better Christian and contribute to the building of a peace-filled world. Even the smallest gesture gives rise to hope. So I’m keeping up with this practice for the rest of the month and another one too, at least. This is your invitation to do the same.

Let us pray: Lord, I want to be a Christian. I want to be more faithful. I want to be more holy. I want to be like Jesus in my heart. Please show me the way. Amen.

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