“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.” ( Matthew 5:1)
I am getting an early start on writing/posting today. I am glad for the opportunity to write earlier in the day when I feel fresher. There is a great deal to be said about ending the day pondering and writing on scripture. It is a pattern that I have enjoyed for many years.
Patterns of behavior are important, and once learned serve to guide our days and nights. It is important, however, to learn right and good patterns. Patterns of behavior that support and heal humanity & creation. Patterns and ways of thinking & relating to humanity and creation. Many religions and faith traditions have such patterns. Many are close to or draw from Christianity. Others, while not in that stream of tradition, seem to parallel Christianity’s attitudes and intents. There is something basic yet universal in the way the finest and purest of Christianity’s intents.
“Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“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 receive mercy.” (Verses 2 – 7)
These are not, beloved reader, attributes that people just happen to have or express without plan or forethought. These are attitudes and attributes that are learned and nurtured. Yes, as Jesus taught them they have rewards. But not rewards that are fully realized in this life.
“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 people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Verses 8 to 12)
At least not for our personal selves. But the result of our living in this way makes the world better for others. And that is what the beatitudes are really about – living for others. We do gain though; not in tangible ways, and not in the “way of the world.” The way we live – being compassionate, caring, comforting, meek, working for justice & righteousness, pure, and peaceful – makes the world we inhabit one step closer to heaven. What we practice, the pattern of living we follow – matters. It matters very much! Selah!