The Beatitudes Matthew Chapter 5:1-12
O God, our Father, as tonight we wait on you , grant to us—
Certainty for our doubts;
Strength for our temptations;
Power for our tasks;
Forgiveness for our sins:
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
In the Beatitudes we have the principles of the Kingdom set out in three parts
* The need for salvation (the poor)
* The fruit of salvation meekness, mercy, peacemaking,
* The results salt, light etc.
The word blessed means approved by God. since this is God's world there can be no higher thing than to be approved by God. Whose blessing do we seek? that of our friends, colleagues.
The need for salvation (the poor)
Blessed are the poor in spirit Luke's Gospel says blessed are the poor to show that they have a special place. Yet the spiritual poor are more serious for this determines human destiny. Poverty is a confession of our need of God, Jesus came not to call the righteous but sinners. Utter need is the only basis for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. A sense of need is the prerequisite to entering the Kingdom. We do not have any of the resources to carry out the requirements of the Sermon on the Mount. We must come to Him and acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy. Tonight we ask God to help us to realise our own poverty and our own helplessness. We ask God to make us rich in the things which really matter.
The fruit of salvation meekness, mercy, peacemaking,
Blessed are those who mourn
Perhaps there are spiritual and natural mourning intended. There is comfort for those who lose loved ones and yet sorrow for sin is vital, the prime cause of all human death and suffering. One who recognises the blackness of their own sin. If we go after purity in our own strength we will not achieve it. It is to be angry with the world, the injustice etc.. We could say blessed are the sorrowful, not those who are having such a splendid time of things now.
Blessed are the meek
This is meekness and not weakness True meekness comes from the end of craving. It seeks nothing for itself because God owns and governs all. Lacking in aggressive self motivation. Those who do not seek for themselves Those who hunger and thirst See God as the source of all life and seeks diligently after Him, conformity to God's will Desire for God's will and God's standards. Tonight we ask God to give to us desire for goodness as much as someone who is starving and longs for food. And as much as someone who is thirsty longs for water. Such a state of mind will count nothing as lost which leads us closer to God.
Blessed are the merciful
Those who show mercy will know mercy. If we feel we have no need for forgiveness then we will not respond with forgiveness for others. The self righteous are not blessed, they have never been sorry for what they are and found forgiveness. It is thus with the alcoholic who refuses to acknowledge their alcoholism and is critical of others who are alcoholic. We need to get to the stage where we can say 'I am a sinner' then we can begin the process of healing. God Our Father help us to be kind and never to thoughtlessly or deliberately hurt anybody. Grant that nobody will ever turn to us for help and not receive it.
Blessed are the pure in heart
In such a world as this it is important that we keep our hearts and minds pure, so that even our secret and inner thoughts are fit enough even for God to see.
Blessed are the peacemakers
This is between men and God.. The word used is peacemakers not peaceful. It is not primarily the United Nations. It is those who restore relationships with God. We need to ask God that we will never be the cause of others turning away from God, and that we would never be the cause of quarrelling and strife.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.
The result of those who seek to restore the broken relationship will always be the persecutions of those who object. There will always be those whose self-interest is threatened. It is good when our Christian faith costs us something. There is a saying that the blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the church. When a church is persecuted it grows and it thrives. It is when the church has it easy that the church fails to take seriously its role to challenge and face up to evil.
And these words,
'You will not be overcome, ' were said very insistently and strongly, for certainty and strength against every tribulation which may come. He did not say, 'You will not be laboured, you will not be disquieted; but he said: 'You will not be overcome'. God wants us to pay attention to these words, and always to be strong in faith and trust, in well-being and and in woe, for he loves and delights in us, and so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well and all manner of things will be well. (Julian of Norwich).
O Father of all we pray to you for those whom we love but see no longer. Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and in thy loving wisdom and almighty power work in them the good purpose of your perfect will. Amen.
Watch O Lord, with those who wake or watch or weep tonight, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend thy sick ones, O Lord Christ. rest thy weary ones; bless thy dying ones; soothe thy suffering ones; pity thine afflicted ones; shield thy joyous ones, and all for thy love's sake. Grant O Lord to all of those who are bearing pain, thy spirit of healing, thy spirit of life, thy spirit of peace and hope, of courage and endurance. cast out from them the spirit of anxiety and fear; grant them perfect confidence and trust in thee, that in thy light they may see light.