Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beatitudes: an invitation to living Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 are an invitation from Jesus into life with him. It's an invitation that comes to us in whatever state or stage of life we are living in.

The word Jesus used 8 times in the Beatitudes is μακάριοι meaning blessed or happy are. 8 times Jesus called those facing struggles in faith blessed or happy.

In our world we have expectations of what will make us happy; and many of the things we think we need we will find out later don't and can't fulfill our deepest needs. In wealthy nations there can be spiritual starvation; even in our homes our actions might cut off the light and hope of another. In other nations or homes having our problems would be a blessed dream. Jesus came for us in a world full of inequality where broken spirits, dreams, and bodies can be restored with the promise that joy and blessing can be found in the toughest circumstances. The key us understanding that Jesus is inviting us to consider happiness and blessing not in our terms but rather on His terms.

In the movie Love Actually a great contrast between fleeting happiness and true joy is emphasized in short snippets that bookend the movie. In these snippets we see the two women crossing a dry and dusty African landscape carrying fire wood. The women, I first expected, would be weeping; but instead they were laughing and talking about life and their future. Meanwhile a woman and man who one might believe had everything had reason to weep.

Jesus invites us to come to him. He invites us, in this world of contrasts where spiritual starvation can occur amidst abundance and where joy can be found in disaster to come to him. In Jesus presence we find peace in struggles. It's a peace that comes from God and that God wants to seed deep into our souls. It doesn't come from within us. It comes from the Word of God that says there is new life. And that new life can start now with God through what the Gospels and the band Big Tent Revival call the Faith of a Little Seed.

Jesus words are counter cultural in any age and maybe even revolutionary in our time. He speaks words of love as he graciously seeks us out in whatever place we might be. He seeks to brings us back when we've strayed. He's inviting us to find hope first in God's forgiveness and next in God's presence in our every trial.



p.s. thanks for the prayers for my family and me. We are blessed by so many. May God bless you and yours in whatever place you might be with his Joy and love.

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