Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
‘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 for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. –Matthew 5:8-12
Jesus warns in the beatitudes that we must be very careful what we do in the name of God. What happens when we ascribe our actions as God’s plan when they relate more to self-interest? There may or may not be a problem with one’s self-interest. If self-interest takes away from the wellbeing of another, it is not of God. God created us to succeed; gave us a multitude of positive choices with which we might apply our talents and skills. I think God’s ultimate plan is that our talents and skills mesh well with our heart’s desires. The first rule of order in God’s world is that all our activities grace others with love. Anything we do in the name of God that does not grace with love is not of God. God is the ultimate judge of our behavior.
All people are children of God, created in God’s image. We cannot pick and choose among the world’s populations regarding who we are to love. We are even called to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), a tough assignment in a world caught up in terrorism and oppression. These Beatitudes make it clear that our task is not easy, but I am very sure love is the only way that will ultimately work.
Prayer: Lord, grant us strength and courage for the facing of this hour*. Amen.
*Derived from hymn God of Grace and God of Glory by Harry E. Fosdick see at http://www.hymnary.org/text/god_of_grace_and_god_of_glory
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.