Epiphany 4A: The Beatitudes – That Time Jesus Flipped Everything Upside Down

… Jesus proclaims that we are loved, cherished and embraced in the midst of our suffering.


For the 4th Sunday of Epiphany, Adam and Lindsey read Matthew 5:1-12. Jesus has got some attitude in this one… some beatitude, to be exact! Flipping our understanding of blessing completely upside-down, Jesus proclaims that we are loved, cherished and embraced in the midst of our suffering.

What draws the crowds to Jesus in the first place; why have so many come to hear him speak from this mountain? Before the words come the actions. Jesus has built relationships by ministering to the sick and suffering, healing them and restoring them to their communities. He has gone out and actually blessed the poor in spirit before proclaiming that blessing. We are called to follow.

The beatitudes root the struggle for justice in God’s love, drawing attention to the people for whom we struggle rather than catching us up in the violence we seek to overcome. They remind us that those who suffer – and those who compassionately enter into the suffering of others – are blessed because God loves them and because they are reflecting God’s love to others.

Adam and Lindsey discuss each beatitude, the ones they find inspiring and the ones they find difficult. (All of them are different combinations of both!) What do these similar but differently-worded blessings mean? What does it mean to possess the kingdom of heaven now, or to be promised the inheritance of the earth in the future? What does it mean that the pure in heart “see God” or that the peacemakers are “children of God”?

And what in the world could it truly mean to “be glad” when facing persecution?

The Olive

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