Scripture: Matthew 5:1-10
Reflection: Take a casual stroll around a bookstore these days, and you might notice the burgeoning section of books that reveal our cultural obsession with happiness. In the past few decades, it seems that the genre has exploded, so that now we are able to read about 7 steps to happiness, cultivating habits to maximize personal happiness, and even the neurological science behind the human emotion we call happiness. Most of us want to be happy. I want to be happy.
Jesus talks about those who are happy in Matthew chapter 5, but not in the way we tend to talk about it. The people he calls happy, or “blessed” (the Greek makarios means both), are not those we’d label as such in our own culture. He names those who are grieving, those who do not have much power in the world, those who long for the world to be a better place. He names those who are merciful and pure in heart, those who try to bind up wounded relationships and don’t stir up unnecessary hurt. He even names those who are persecuted – those who are hated, overlooked, mistreated, maligned. And in each of these instances, he utters a promise over them. If you’re hurting, you will be comforted. If you’re hungry, you will be filled. If you feel an ache down in your bones for the world to be different, remember that you are a child of God.
In a world where it is assumed that those who are well, powerful, and put together are the only one who are “blessed,” we would do well to remember Jesus’ words of blessing in Matthew chapter 5. There is no circumstance in life that draws us away from God’s love. We are not called to feel “happy” all the time, but instead to remember that we are called to share our lives – all of our lives – with the God who shows up for us. And then, trusting this God, we are called to share the blessing of God’s promises with others.
Prayer: Today, O God, I lift my prayers for those who miss loved ones, that they might feel your comforting presence with them. I lift to you those who watch and wait for your peace to reign and who work for your justice to be seen here on earth as it is in heaven, and ask that you would sustain them. I ask that you would make me merciful and pure in heart, so that I might catch a glimpse of you in the day ahead, and be encouraged to live in gratitude, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].
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