Heard at Café: 9/4/2018

We began with the first passage from the Sermon on the Mount, a collection of Jesus's famous teaching found the the book of Matthew. This section has a well-known name, often called the Beatitudes. This come from the word 'blessed' in Latin, 'beatus.'

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
“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 be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jeremy talked about how a lot of these things aren't worthy of celebration - ideas that seem pretty negative or describe people who are easily taken advantage of. It feels backwards. It's counter-cultural. And you want to ask the question, is it just about suffering in this life, only able to look forward to heaven? But we need to apply these ideas in our lives today. So where can we find encouragement? Where can we be challenged?

Honestly and humility show up in a lot of these statements. Jesus isn't trying to glorify the pain that people feel, he's offering hope that something better is coming when we do, at some point in our lives, feel that way. The broken heart, being in the background, pursing God and things that others may mock, it will pay off in the end. Jesus is not just a teacher wanting to give us information, show us the rules, and move on. He wants to align what we love with what He loves. "He isn't content to simply deposit new ideas into your mind; He is after nothing less than your wants, your loves, your longings." We should love the things that Jesus loves, that he speaks about in this passage, for that is the world God envisioned for us. There are bigger and better things in store for us.

Kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with precious metals, is a great illustration of something becoming more beautiful because of its brokenness. We are made better by going through trials and pain, we turn out greater for it. When we feel alone or forgotten, when we're feeling pain of grief, God can put us back together. There is hope for a better tomorrow, in heaven, but also here on earth. It's our job to create that peace, to strive for this world God wants for us.

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