Beattitudes for today
Jesus' first words in the Sermon on the Mount are famous and often quoted by His followers and others. But often we take them to be just ethical statements or good intentions. Or we can take then to be promises - you'll be blessed if you are poor, mourn, hunger...
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 sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
But I don't think this was what Jesus was trying to say. In fact I am not sure he was trying to say anything - but rather do something. This is why they are called BE-attitudes - they require you to BE something. In Jesus time, lots of people were excluded from the Temple in Jerusalem because of their sex, background or perceived sin. Women, cripples, sick, those of 'lower class', the poor who could not afford the sacrifices could not get in. In contrast Jesus sets up shop on a mountain several miles away and says ALL can come in - the poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry...
If Jesus were around to day, i think he would see another group who 'can't get in' to established churches and he might say to them things like this:
Blessed are the depressed, for they are finding hope.
Blessed are the psychotic, for they struggle with reality and real issues.
Blessed are the over-burdened single parents, for they are finding out what love is.
Blessed are those dependant on drugs, for they are looking for satisfaction.
Even in the valley of death and barrenness, he calls them to worship him on the mountain [Isaiah 54v1ff].
What would you add to the list?