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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beatitudes Brought Home

Tonight I would first like to look at all the Beatitudes then choose one to write about—“the pure in heart.”

Matthew 5:1-12 (New International Version, ©2011)
Matthew 5 (NIV)
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
 1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
    He said:
 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
   for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.
9 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.”

I begin with verse 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  This verse is inscribed on my mother’s gravesite marker.  I can write about this easily for I witnessed firsthand during her life how it is true.  First of all, mother was pure in heart.  While continuously of good self-esteem herself, she relied not on being haughty and putting others down nor of shaping others up.  She felt no need to remake others in her own image, and was an encouraging friend to strangers.  She was filled with joy and gratitude and envied not.  Being pure in heart also has implications for being content with what one has materially.  One does not continuously desire to amass more and more and is thereby driven to satiate a troubled heart with a truckload of acquisitions.  The heart is already full of God and need not be filled with an endless accumulation of material things.  But what about the second part of the verse “for they will see God.”  Mother had a faith that was total and sure.  She did not struggle to believe in eternal life, for example.  This was real to her and she believed in life eternal with the same certitude as knowing the family had biscuits for breakfast.  Being pure in heart contains the element of seeing all humanity as equal before God.  Joy was her predominant aspect.  She marveled at God’s creation.  I can remember her counting in amazement the number of birds perched on a telephone wire.  She was open to the wonder evidenced in the everyday.  For her a leap of faith was unnecessary; faith was not an imminent concept just over the horizon but rather a given fact held deeply within.

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