Pondering for Thursday, September 19, 2019

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 19 Year 1

AM Psalm [70], 71; PM Psalm 74 1 Kings 22:29-45; 1 Cor. 2:14-3:15; Matt. 5:1-10

Matthew 5:1–12

When Jesus* saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught 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 righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive 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 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.

In conferring with Douglas R. A. Hare in “Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Matthew.”  Hare says about the word Blessed that “While such a nuance cannot be fully excluded in a Greek Gospel, it is important to remember that Jesus spoke in a Semitic context. The meaning he intended in the original beatitudes undoubtedly reflects the function of ashre in the Hebrew Scriptures, for example Ps. 1:1, where the happiness is less subjective that objective.”  Happiness, he contends, “derives from a right relationship with God…..For this reason it is probably better to retain “blessed” as the English rendering because of the word’s religious associations. (p. 35 – 36)

All that said, for me, the Beatitudes guide my life with the promise of hope. I hold out trying to be as compassionate and as prayerful as I can be hoping beyond hope that God will not forget me and that I will not forget God.

 Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people and ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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