Scripture Reading:

Matthew 5:3-12

“Blessed are [you]. . . .”

Matthew 5:3

The Sermon on the Mount begins with a series of “blessing” statements. These are often called the Beatitudes. Each statement begins with the Greek word ­macarios, which can be translated as “blessed” or “happy.”

Some of us today might say we are #blessed because we got a bonus or we didn’t have to stop for a red light on the way to work. But being macarios is about more than just feeling good or making a gain on our bank account. True blessing is about living in line with God’s will, the way we are created to live. In the Bible, one who is blessed is described as whole and flourishing through a strong connection with God. Living in tune with God, or in step with the Spirit, may not bring us more money or an easier life, but it will lead to peace and wholeness as we walk with God.

This is important to keep in mind as we reflect on the Beatitudes over the next ­several days. Jesus makes some puzzling, provocative statements here, and we may not always feel so “happy” about putting his commands into practice. Even so, the Sermon on the Mount begins with a picture of what it means to flourish in relationship with God. When we live out these Beatitudes, we step into the kind of life we are intended to live, and we experience a kind of settledness and wholeness that can’t be found anywhere else.

Father, help me to under­stand that blessing is about having a stronger relationship with you. Help me to obey and follow you. Amen.

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