the beatitudesWhat do you think of when you think of the Beatitudes?  Until last Sunday, I tended to think of them as a soothing set of passages meant to reassure us. “Now, now.  Don’t worry.  Life may not be what you want right now, but God will make things all better in Heaven.”

Admittedly, I never knew exactly what to think when I got to verses 11 and 12 which say. . .

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.”

Did this mean that Christ’s followers could expect poverty?  That they should be continually meek?

Last Sunday, Pastor Carol challenged us to think of the Beatitudes as a cup of fast food coffee.  Look out, this can burn!  Why?  The Beatitudes aren’t meant simply to comfort the have-nots.  They are a challenge for the haves.

Christ had a nasty habit of calling us to action.  Sure, he also patted his followers on the back and told them things would get better, but often he told us how to make things better and it meant being His Hands on Earth.  Think about that and look at the Beatitudes again.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for the will be comforted” becomes “Bless those who mourn.  Comfort them.”  As in, do it, don’t just wait for it to happen in heaven. Look at the list of those who are meant to serve and you will see that the Beatitudes are a call for social justice.

With that in mind, the last two verses make sense.  Why?  Those who have a lot to lose may not be happy when we work for those who have nothing to lose.