Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy, Blessed, and Beautiful in God's Eyes Matthew 5:1-12

The Gospel, that we read for All Saints, is sometimes called the Beatitudes. It is the greatest description, that I know, of the world as God both wills it to be and as God sees it coming into being through lives of faith.

Jesus spoke these words to a huge crowd. They came searching for him. Some hoped he’d heal their bodies or spirits. Others believed Jesus was the great leader who’d come to set them free from earthly tyranny. People came from all over searching for this great teacher, this great rabbi. And Jesus was ready to teach. He went up to the top of the mountain. He sat down and he began to teach them about what the world looks like to God.

If you read this passage you will see that one phrase is repeated over and over: μακάριοι οἱ this is often translated blessed are those or happy are those. One word μακάριοι is repeated over and over, blessed or happy are those who are:

  • poor in spirit
  • in mourning
  • meek
  • hungering and thirsting for righteousness
  • clean in heart
  • peacemakers
  • persecuted for righteousness sake
The popular definition of happiness or blessing that grows out of material wealth doesn't fit these very real life circumstance that Jesus' followers face every day. Still we call call these the Beatitudes, a word that comes from the Latin beatus for beauty. Maybe another translation is beautiful in the sight of God. Think of the one who follows God and think of that one described as blessed, happy, and beautiful in the site of God.

Blessed, happy, beautiful, in the end each of these translation of the word μακάριοι gives us a different facet of the story. The key here is seeing just how radically Jesus sees the world from us. He's offering a markedly different vision of the world from what we humans see. He sees beauty and joy and blessing in God's people even when we might not see it.


Frances Woodruff said...

Thanks for this post. It inspired me for my 2011 All Saints' Sunday children's sermon. I'd love for you to see it at http://onthechancelsteps.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/again/

Thank you for making the world a more beautiful place! Frances

John, an unlikely pastor said...

Thanks for reading and your thoughtful treatment of this text
take care