The Sermon on the Mount: The “Be-Attitudes”

Opening Song:
"Lamb of God"

Gathering:
L: Come, One called Love,
P: That we may find You around us, within us among us.
L: Come, One called Peace,
P: That we may find You around us, within us among us.
L: Come, One called Hope,
P: That we may find You around us, within us among us.
L: Come, One called Love, Peace, Hope,
P: That we might share love, peace and hope with the world. AMEN

Song:
"Amazing Grace"

Scripture:
Matthew 5:1-12 (see also Luke 6:20-26) from the Inclusive New Testament:
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside, and after he sat down and the disciples had gathered around, Jesus began to teach them:

  • Blessed are those who are poor in spirit: the kin-dom of heaven is theirs.
  • Blessed are those who are mourning: they will be consoled.
  • Blessed are those who are gentle: they will inherit the land.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice: they will have their fill.
  • Blessed are those who show mercy: they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are those whose hearts are clean: they will see God.
  • Blessed are those who work for peace: they will be called children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their struggle for justice: the kin-dom of heaven is theirs.
  • Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; they persecuted the prophets before you in the very same way.


Reflections: (see back for additional resources)

Song:
"Thuma Mina"

Reflections: (see below for additional resources)

Prayers

Song:
"Seek Ye First"
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and God's righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you; Allelu, Alleluia
Ask and it shall be given unto you; Seek and ye shall find;
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you; Allelu, Alleluia
We shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God; Allelu, Alleluia

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On the Beatitudes

The following reflection on the Beatitudes comes from Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian, in "We Belong to the Land" (pp 143 - 144).

Knowing Aramaic, the language of Jesus, has greatly enriched my understanding of Jesus' teachings. Because the Bible as we know it is a translation of a translation, we sometimes get a wrong impression. For
example, we are used to hearing the Beatitudes expressed passively:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
"Blessed" is the translation of the word MAKARIOI, used in the Greek New Testament. However, when I look further back to Jesus' Aramaic, I find that the original word was ASHRAY, from the verb YASHAR. ASHRAY does not have this passive quality to it at all. Instead, it means "to set yourself on the right way for the right goal; to turn around, repent; to become straight or righteous."
How could I go to a persecuted young man in a Palestinian refugee camp, for instance, and say, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted," or "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven?" That man would revile me, say neither I nor my God understood his plight, and he would be right.
When I understand Jesus' words in the Aramaic, I translate like this:
Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you who are hungry and thirsty for justice,
for you shall be satisfied.
Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you peacemakers,
for you shall be called children of God.
To me this reflects Jesus' words and teachings much more accurately. I can hear him saying, "Get your hands dirty to build a human society for human beings; otherwise, others will torture and murder the poor, the voiceless, and the powerless." Christianity is not passive but active, energetic, alive, going beyond despair.
One day two bats fell into a pot of milk. The pessimistic bat said, "What can I do? Will I struggle and sink, and die so very tired? I will not die tired." He sank and drowned immediately. The optimistic bat said, "I will strive to the end, and at least they will say I tried everything." She struggled and struggled, trying to fly, until she fainted. Later she awakened and found herself resting safely on a big roll of butter. This is not giving in to despair, but going beyond despair.
"Get up, go ahead, do something, move," Jesus said to his disciples.

CPT - 12/98


The Lesson

Then Simon Peter said, "Will this count?"
and Andrew said, "Will we have a test on it?"
and James said, "When do we have to know it for?"
and Phillip said, "How many words?"
and Bartholomew said, "Will I have to stand in front of the others?"
and John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this!"
and Matthew said, "How many marks do we get for this?"
and Judas said, "What is it worth?"
and the other disciples likewise.
Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus' lesson plan and inquired of Jesus his terminal objectives in the cognitive domain.

And Jesus wept.