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Memorize & Ponder for Sunday July 13, 2014

Reflections on the Beatitudes

Matthew 5:3-7   (NRSV)

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 will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Throughout 2014, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church is getting to know Jesus, the Christ, in a refreshing and transformative way. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment here.

A Provocative Pondering

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)

In Matthew’s Gospel, many of the core teachings of Jesus are collated in the Sermon on the Mount, especially in the Beatitudes.

The teachings draw heavily on the prophetic tradition in Judaism, clearly siding with those who are disadvantaged because of the greed and power-hunger of others. They promise God’s presence and blessing, an assurance of the dignity and worth of those who are suffering.

But these teachings do not encourage passive acceptance of difficulties. They promise God’s presence so those who suffer can do something to overcome their circumstances.

They can change their attitudes, moving from a sense of being a victim to a sense of confidence in being at very least an observer, then an actor.

They can change their imaginations, moving from imagining how stuck and oppressed they are to imaging what strategies, implemented step-by-step, they can initiate to change their circumstances.

They can step out of their isolation in facing their difficulties alone into a community of care and support who will help them transform their lives, in large part because God is guiding that community to be a blessing – a beatitude-bearing presence in the world.

Join us in our study groups and worship services to ponder together what the Spirit is teaching us through this text.

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