“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Peace is a wonderful thing, often fleeting but when true peace is found, there is joy. The peace that faith in Jesus Christ offers is one that is eternal, it does not ebb and flow nor does it change with the season or with cultural mores. To live in peace is to feel truly at one with the Lord and to witness the grace of God to the world. A peacemaker is one that not only lives a peaceful life but truly is called to make peace, to reach out the hand of Christian love and share the peace of Christ with another. A peacemaker takes seriously the call of St. Paul that “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18) A peacemaker may not understand but is understanding of someone else’s journey. There is joy in making peace because it is the sharing of truly what it means to be a child of God. God’s intent for you is to come to know the peace that comes through truly knowing Jesus Christ; it is a peace that is nonjudgmental, grace-filled, hopeful, and world-transforming. Jesus said, “peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives so do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) Accept the peace of Christ into your life and know the blessing of actively seeking peace for others. Thank you Jesus for the privilege of living out the peace that you share.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
Have you ever thought about giving someone a gift? For months, you considered what the future recipient might need or what would make them happy. The day finally comes when you wrap up the gift and with a huge smile on your face, hand the person the gift that was precious to you only because you believed it would bring them joy. Mercy is all about sharing God’s love with someone else, not with any thought of receiving something in return but because it is very much what it means to be a redeemed child of God. There is nothing more soul-filling than to spread the joy of the presence of God to someone else. Blessed are the merciful because they have received a taste of God’s joy through Jesus Christ. The merciful are not naïve’ nor are they self-centered in offering the gift of mercy; they simply have a disposition of offering kindness, which at times seems to be in short supply. Consider the ministry of Jesus; the people he healed were not worthy to be healed by worldly standards and maybe up to the time of meeting Jesus may not have even been believers. Yet in the infinite love and mercy of God, they came to know the joy of faith, of knowing that God cares about them. When we show mercy, compassion, we acknowledge the presence of God in us and just can’t wait to share the gift with someone else. Mercy is not just an attitude, it acts and responds to the needs of others. Those who celebrate the joy of mercy with another will receive even more mercy and joy in knowing that someone else’s life is made just a bit easier. Thank you Jesus.
“Blessed are those who are meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
There is strength in meekness, really? At first glance the words of Jesus have no relevance to the world in which we live. There is violence perpetrated on innocent people. There are those who feel they are “entitled” to abuse or humiliate those they say they love. Yet these words of Jesus, “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” offer a powerful message to those who feel powerless. The meek are not doormats nor voiceless. The meek live with the fact that their Lord is their rock and their shield. Those who are humble in spirit, the meek, lean on the “everlasting arms” of the grace of God that offers the grace and the power of God to be their guide. God does not condone violence of any kind against another rather God sets a standard of living that seeks to offer not just life, but life in abundance. The meek are strong and are of infinite value because their trust is in Jesus and Jesus alone. As the Psalmist writes, “do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, for they will fade like grass, and wither like the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1) You are worthy because Christ is worthy, and you are strong because Christ loves you far too much to have it any other way. You are blessed and you are invited by Jesus to “come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The blessing of meekness is the gift of faith in the One who “neither slumbers nor sleeps” for you and has gone to the ends of the earth to let you know that you are not alone and you are blessed, not powerless. Thank you Jesus.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
It seems as though our world has taken a turn for the worse; we have natural disasters to contend with as well as senseless violence robbing people of life, liberty, and peace. There is discord even in the midst of what would once have been simple conversations about world and national events; we mourn the loss of the ability to express personal opinion without fear of repercussion. We mourn the loss of civility and genuine love for one another. We mourn the loss of loved ones and the ravages of disease that have robbed us and those we love from truly enjoying life. How is it then that Jesus can say, “blessed” [happy] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted?” Mourning in and of itself does not describe a person who by virtue of mourning will receive Christ, rather those who mourn celebrate a faith that knows that all is not right but through Jesus Christ, “every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain will be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.” (Isaiah 40:3-4) Blessed are those who know things are not how they should be because they know that their redeemer lives in Jesus the Christ and that only through Jesus Christ the world can be transformed. Only through Jesus Christ we can say with confidence that even those who have died in the Lord, our loved ones, are alive forevermore. Those who mourn take seriously the words of Jesus proclaiming, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:26) Those who mourn are blessed because even though they decry the current human condition, they cannot and will not resign themselves to the notion that the present reality is the final reality. There is more, much more. There is hope. There is power. Those in Christ who mourn acknowledge all is not right in the world but Jesus has the final word, and that is good, really good. Happy are those who mourn, because they have the comfort of knowing there is something more, something greater… Those who mourn, stand on the promises “that cannot fail.” Thank you Jesus.