“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
People often say that they are “blessed” when they are enjoying good things in life: a beautiful sunset, time with their loved ones, a comfortable place to live, exciting travels. But when we hear what Jesus taught about being “blessed,” we get a different picture. Jesus describes a number of people who seem to be the opposite of blessed. The list includes people who are broken down, struggling, or even persecuted. How could Jesus call them blessed?
Through his life and teaching, Jesus introduced a new kind of world. It was a new way of understanding what a beautiful community looks like. Jesus called this beautiful new community “the kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of heaven.” And in God’s kingdom, the typical priorities of our world (wealth, pride, winning at all costs) are turned upside down.
In God’s kingdom, Jesus says all people are welcome, not just those who are rich or respectable. In God’s kingdom, a beautiful life of mercy and peace is possible by God’s grace. We may feel disoriented at first when we follow Jesus, because his values are not the values of the world. But the right-side-up kingdom of God is good news for us and for the whole world, because it is the most beautiful kingdom possible.
Jesus, thank you for bringing the kingdom of God. Thank you for teaching us about a beautiful new kind of world, even though it can seem upside down to us at first. Amen.
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