Today’s Reading is: Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12 Version (NRSV)

 The Beatitudes

When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 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.

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

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Thoughts on Today’s Reading—From Pastor Pam

 Jesus called people to a new identity. This was true during the time of his ministry and he speaks to us today.

Brian McLaren in his book We Make the Road by Walking, points to how Jesus used the word “blessed” to address the question of identity.

McLaren writes, “In Jesus’ day, to say “Blessed are these people” is to say “Pay attention: these are the people you should aspire to be like. This is the group you want to belong to.”

Sometimes people will look at the Beatitudes in Matthew 5: 1-12 and see the people Jesus is talking about as “other” people. I’ve included McLaren’s interpretation of the Beatitudes in this Bulletin.

Jesus defines success and well-being in a “profoundly” different than we often see in culture today as well as the time of Jesus’ ministry. The world often stresses wealth and power, hardening our feelings in the face of loss and measuring happiness as about one’s self. When we read the Beatitudes, we are invited to a different and most blessed identity.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Pam