Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)
Read Matthew 5:1-12 on biblegateway.com
Chapter 5When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Verse 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Verse 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Verse 4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Verse 5"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Verse 6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Verse 7"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Verse 8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Verse 9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Verse 10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Verse 11"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Verse 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
For several years my congregation, Alpine Lutheran, was in active fellowship with a non-Lutheran African-American congregation on the other side of town. We did at least annual services and retreats together. If any of us asked one of their members, “How ya’ doin’?”, their response would typically be, “I’m blessed!” Not “fine” or “okay,” but blessed. This made an impact on me, and on others as well. While life’s circumstances may not always be rosy, and challenges are always part of life’s journey, we are blessed nonetheless when we are in fellowship with God and God’s people. When one of their young people died unexpectedly, our sanctuary hosted the large funeral, and we mourned together. When we needed an extra dose of Holy Spirit, they hosted us, and we rejoiced in the Lord together. We were equally blessed. As Jesus gathered his disciples and others to hear his Sermon on Mount, his first words were “Blessed (or happy)” are those who seek to live righteously. May you also be blessed as you carry out your disciple ministry.
Whether I am aware of it or not, Lord, I know that in Christ I am blessed. Help me, I pray, to be a blessing to others as well. Amen.