The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12)
“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 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.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
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I recently listened to Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. (This course is to be taken in tandem with the reading of Prof. Wright’s book, Simply Jesus. In Simply Jesus, bestselling author and leading Bible scholar N.T. Wright summarizes 200 years of modern Biblical scholarship and models how Christians can best retell the story of Jesus today.)
In lecture ten N. T. Wright discussed the Beatitudes. I particularly enjoyed his take on the Beatitudes. I think you will too.
The kingdom of heaven is not a place called heaven. Heaven is used as a reverent way to talk about God. The kingdom of heaven means God is king. Jesus taught his followers to pray that God will become king on earth as He is in heaven. God’s sovereignty is to come to birth on earth. Jesus launched the kingdom of God. It will happen now! And his followers get to be part of it.
Even today we get to be part of it. Jesus told them and even us now to be the people of God in a whole new way. They and us today can be the people of God because Jesus is here and will lead the way.
When God becomes king he will do it through the people he calls, equips and enables. If God will bless the world it will be through people like this: the Beatitudes.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” God will not bless the world through bossy people who bully others to get their way. God will do it through people who are humble.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” God will bless the world through people who hunger and thirst for justice and have a passion to put things right.
We need people poor in spirit. People who are poor in spirit are ready to be taught and steered by God. They are not arrogant. They are like clay in the potter’s hands.
God asks us to be pure in heart. The pure in heart are those without mixed motives. They do not do things because there is something in it for them. They do it because they know it is the right thing to do. It is what God wishes we do.
We will be persecuted. The Beatitudes are not the ways of the world. Nevertheless, Jesus called his followers then and he calls us now to be agents of the world. These are the type of people that God will bless the world through.
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I am currently reading Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill. Check it out.
Are you in the Philadelphia PA area? Invite me to speak or teach Centering Prayer at your church or community gathering. Feel free to contact Rich to obtain more information.
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The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. It works well for group studies.
How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Spiritual Map Session.