Be a Blessing – January 29, 2017 – Epiphany 4A

Matthew 5:1-12

Question for you, sometimes we think of the Beatitudes as a report card, or a checklist. 16026640048_45131cc90a_b Yes, I am mourning, check.  Yes I am meek, check.  Yes I am merciful, well, mostly anyways, check.  Poor in spirit, well… not too sure what that one is about, so…. Half a mark there.

So how many marks would you need to get to pass to be blessed?  There are 9 Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, so do you need 4.5?  What if you 4, will Jesus round up for ya?

The scary part about doing this check list is that you and I, with our heated homes, our savings accounts, our recliner lazy-boys don’t really get to pass any of these, well certainly not all of them anyways.  We won’t pass anyways.

The Beatitudes are not a report card, and in fact, they are not even about us.  They are for us, and they are a checklist, but they are a checklist for Jesus reminds us we need to focus our mission on.  

Remember, people first, rules later.  Sigh.

In that podcast we listened to last week, John Philip Newell talks about how we forget about the sacredness of people.  Do you remember how it felt when you held a newborn?  Doesn’t matter if you are the parent, or grandparent, or uncle or aunt, when we hold a newborn, we have this collective feeling that this newborn is amazing, it is special, it is aaaawwwweeeeesome.  We might go so far to say that it is holy, God’s blessing to us.  What we recognize when we have this feeling is we are recognizing the sacredness of the newborn.

The definition of sacred is “connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.”  Connected with God and so deserves veneration, deserves honour, deserves great respect and reverence.  That warm fuzzy feeling when we hold that newborn is recognizing the sacredness that the newborn has.

Now look around you, think about the people around you, do you get that warm fuzzy feeling when you think about the people in your life?  If you think about your children, maybe.  Think about your spouse, or maybe even your parents, you might recognize that, but do you feel that in the same way as when you hold a new born?  What about your siblings, or your cousins?  What about your co-workers?  Do we recognize the sacredness in each other, do we recognize that they are connected to God?

Out of this list, can you recognize someone in your daily walk that fits one of these categories, and can you be a blessing for them this week?  Can you recognize that they are connected to God?  Can you recognize their sacredness?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, the downtrodden, the depressed, those who are so down that they can not look up?  Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, those who grieve, those missing a big piece of their heart?  They are to be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, the lowly, the quiet, gentle, easily taken advantage of?  They will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, wanting to do right, wanting to be made right, wanting to be made whole again?  They are to be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, those who give of themselves for others, those who bring others relief from something unpleasant, those compassionate shows exercising mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, those who are innocent, those who are wrongly judged, those who need an advocate?  For they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, those who strive to do right by God and by others so that all can work in the kingdom together.  They will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, those who are picked on for doing the right thing, those burdened with guilt for telling the truth?  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, those who are willing to go out and spread the love of God and spread the Good News no matter the cost.  

Can you think of one person that fits one of those?  Remember it is not a checklist, we aren’t to let these be a burden, or to think that works will get us a good grade.  Let us be a blessing to one person that fits these, so that they may be blessed.

Former Bishop Steve Kristenson said in a sermon in Bawlf, “When all are serving, all are served.”  To modify that a bit, when all are blessing, all are blessed.

So people first, rules second.  Let us be the blessing we were created to be, recognizing the sacredness in those around us, recognizing that they are connected to God, the same way that a newborn is, and let us live as Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount, not to do works, but to be faithful.

Thanks be to God.

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