Last Sunday at worship we looked at Jesus' Sermon on the Plain from Luke 6. I gave everyone an assignment at the beginning of the message: Memorize The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). Here they are in the English Standard Version:“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons 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 is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We've been learning that the gospel -- the "euangelion" [in Greek] is 1) the good messenger, 2) the good message, and 3) the reward someone gets for bringing good news. That last one Christians don't think about much. Each of the nine groups Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes brings good news. Each is a good messenger. Each gets a reward. That's why they're "blessed". Maybe thinking of it that way will help you as you memorize.
If you want help memorizing Scripture or if you want to talk about these groups and why Jesus commends them, write back! Let's start a Beatitude Conversation!
"All spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth."
" When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. "
Five verses. That's all that separates "all" speaking well of Jesus and "all" being filled with wrath and ready to throw Jesus off a cliff.
Some say pastors take "awkward pills", and I guess I understand what they mean. Church can be a pretty awkward place. Let's face it, here's a place where we're supposed to be all excited about Jesus, who is the main attraction. But none of us really knows what that excitement is supposed to look or sound like.
We sing songs to try and express our feelings. Someone prepares a weekly lecture that's supposed to hype us up and make us want to tell others about Jesus or make us more Christ-like. We have seminars -- even for little children -- because we want to teach each other how to be like Jesus. We even set up a weekly coffee reception so we'll hang around and talk about Jesus with one another.
But imagine what it would be like to be the person leading the singing on a Sunday or giving the lecture or teaching the seminar? In the beginning, everything's going great. Everyone loves the first five minutes. But when you get to the part where you talk about sin or about us being separated from God if we don't know Jesus all of a sudden everyone in the church starts to throw things at you! Now that's awkward!
But seriously... what do you find awkward or strange about church... not about faith in Jesus... about Church. We all agree that Jesus is the "Hometown Kid" who made good. Write back and let's talk.
Disclaimer: these discussions are now being posted on our PCC 'blog' as part of our website. Your responses will be public. Click below to Practice Community in Christ. Ask. Seek. Knock.
John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Luke 3:16
"There are times when life, like a river, is over your head and you feel like you are drowning. Yet, the water from these very rivers wash away your filth. What the water does not remove, the fire purifies."
-- Francis Frangipane
Are you going through a "fire-ing?" Pots are heated in a kiln twice. The first time the clay is dried. The second time, the glaze is fixed to the pot. A simple clay pot isn't very beautiful, though it has been "tested by fire." That testing must happen more than once before it becomes a thing of beauty.
Let's talk. How are you being tested right now?