Matthew 5:1-12, NIV.
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:

“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
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 sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of
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.”

I have been a follower of Jesus for most of my life. But a little while ago, read this passage as if for the first time. Don’t get me wrong – the words were familiar to me. I could have recited most of them from memory.

But words can become divorced from meaning. They can be abstracted
and used for a million mundane purposes. They can be pasted into advertisements and mission statements of multi-nationals.

They can become like veneer glued to plastic to give it the appearance of fine carpentry.

Or they can be obscured by a fog of assumptions that makes them illegible. Like wearing someone else’s thick glasses.

Perhaps some words are over venerated – locked away in glass cases – filed and categorised and cross referenced. Pinned like a lifeless butterfly.

But these words – it seems to me that every generation needs to discover them anew. They contain something so wonderful, so powerful, that they are dangerous.

Like dynamite.

Here are the words of Jesus, spoken to his friends. Given as a means to shape their engagement with the present-future Kingdom of God.
Words that turned everything upside down.

Subversive, revolutionary words.

Beautiful, hope-filled, wonderful words.

May they find their way to the middle of you…

(From Listings, by Chris Goan)

Prayer / Blessing

may you be blessed
as you continue to seek out
honesty, and truth, and peace
desiring more than passing, cheap, flippant intimacy.

may you be blessed
as you travel through seas of strangers
desperately wanting to be seen
and not merely passed by
yearning for a touch, a word, a presence.

may you be blessed
as you authentically try to respond
to the God-given wrenching of your gut
making you aware that a need is near
and someone is waiting on your touch,
your word,
your presence.

may the blessing of a love that transcends indifference
and brings reconciliation
be in your heart and in your mind and in your hands
as you travel to and fro –
constantly aware that even now you are surrounded by
may you seek,
may you be completed,
and may you be blessed.