First United Methodist Church
315 Kerens Ave, Elkins WV 26241 (304) 636-0660
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, “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 the meek,for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown 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 because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5.1-12).
A young vicar about to deliver his first sermon asked the advice of a retired minister on how to capture the congregation's attention. "Start with an opening line that's certain to grab them," the cleric told him. "For example: 'Some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman.'" He smiled at the young vicar's shocked look before adding, "She was my mother." The next Sunday the vicar nervously clutched the pulpit rail before the congregation and stated, "Some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman." He was pleased with the instant reaction, then panic-stricken. "But for the life of me, I can't remember who she was!" (https://www.ba-bamail.com/jokes/religion-jokes/?jokeid=137.)
In Jerusalem, a journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time. She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was! She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview. “Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wall and praying?” “For about 50 years.” Said the old man. “50 years! That’s amazing! What do you pray for?” “Well, I pray for peace. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up wise, in safety and friendship.” “How do you feel after doing this for 50 years?” “Like I’m talking to a wall!” (https://www.ba-bamail.com/jokes/religion-jokes/?jokeid=1473.)
Jesus’ first recorded sermon in Matthew got off to a much, much better start! “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”. What a great line, followed by a bunch of other great lines!
Let’s first take the word “blessed.”. The Greek meaning of this word is often translated “blessed,” but it can also mean “happy” or “to be envied.”. It is closely tied with faith, so it could be translated “Happy are” or “Envied is” the one who believes. The Be-attitudes are the stances, the postures, of those who believe.
The first happy ones are the poor in spirit. In the Greek this phrase means “utterly helpless,” and therefore, wholly trusting God. Max Lucado put it pretty well: “You don’t impress the officials at NASA with a paper airplane. You don’t boast about your crayon sketches in the presence of a Picasso. You don’t claim equality with an Einstein because you can write H2O. And you don’t boast about your goodness in the presence of the Perfect One…only a great God does for His children what they can’t do for themselves.” A person who believes this has a place in the kingdom of heaven.
The second happy ones are those who mourn. The word for mourn in the Greek is the strongest word that can be used for the subject. It describes a deep and profound loss, complete with tears and heartache. It is the kind of grief represented by the one who has lost a loved one. But this one turns a bit, maybe even a lot. The fullest description at play here is the person who understands their place in a world often governed by sin and mourns their own sin and the result of sin. Those with such an understanding will receive the comfort and joy of God.
The third happy ones are those who are meek. The word for meek in the Greek is hard to translate. Meekness is not weakness. It is exercising God’s strength under His control. One might put it this way: it is a person who has every desire, every impulse, every passion, under control because he or she is under the control of God. Such as these will not just receive a great inheritance but will inherit the earth itself, inherit as John said, a new heaven and a new earth!
The fourth happy ones are those who are the righteous. This may be the most simple one to understand. Happy is the person who loves what is right – doing right, seeing right, being right, in relationship to God and others. For a person who craves it, like a person famished, or a person who is totally parched and nearly dying to have a nourishing drink, will have true fulfillment. Such a person starves for God and is satisfied.
The fifth happy ones are those who are the merciful. We all understand mercy. In this instance, it is the level of mercy which gets inside of a person, understand their situation, sees through their eyes and feels through their heart. It’s giving someone a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind. Those who place themselves in another’s shoes this way, will receive similar treatment amongst people.
The sixth happy ones are those who are pure in heart. This describes a person whose motives are pure. Those who maintain this way of being, will see God. No one ever has seen God and lived. Someday, those who are pure this way, will see God and live!!!
The seventh happy ones are the peacemakers. A peacemaker is someone who promotes peace between others, in part because they seek peace for themselves, and also because they love peace and want others to have it in their lives, in their relationships. We might call such a person a conflict manager or mediator, on the highest order. These ones are God’s kids, belonging to that dear, precious family of God.
Last but not least, the eighth happy ones are those who are persecuted. Why? Because the one who suffers for their faith has become the closest possible companion of Christ. As does the first, and all the others, they have a place in heaven. Jesus sandwiches all the Be Attitudes with one’s reservation in heaven.
A boy asked his father, “Dad, what is the size of God? How big is He?”
The Father looked up at the sky and saw a little plane In the far distance and asked his son, “What is the
Size of the plane in the sky?”
The boy replied, “It is really small. I can hardly see it in the sky."
Then, the father said, “Son, let’s go on a trip to the airport. I want to show you something.”
The boy jumped in his father’s truck and off they went to the airport.
As they approached the plane, the father asked his son: “Now, Son, how big is this plane?” The boy looked at the airplane and said, “Wow, Dad, that plane is huge! It’s a lot bigger than that plane in the sky, isn’t it!”
Then the father put his arm around his son and said, “Son, God’ size is like this plane. It is the same one you saw in the sky from a distance and it looked so small. God’s size depends on how close or how fare you are to him. The closer you are……the bigger God looks!” (Dr. Larry Petton). Having the attitudes of the beatitudes_ draws us closer to God. The closer we get, the bigger He gets! That is the best way of be-ing.