March 21, 2010: “Blessed Are the Meek & Merciful”

Posted on : Mar 18th, 2010 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I remember once when I was going through the ordination process, I was asked by someone to describe my relationship with Jesus. All I could think of to say was, “I need to get to know him better.”  It takes a lifetime to get to know him, and that is at the core of our faith journey. What did he say, do, stand for; and what does he expect of us, his disciples, as we try to carry on with his work and message? It ain’t easy!

Our six week journey through the beatitudes has shed light on Jesus. As we analyze and ponder the declarations he made at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, which we call the beatitudes, we realize how he must have surprised his listeners. We have discovered that in the crowd that day were the poor, sick, oppressed who hung on his words and hoped for his healing touch.

This week we are looking at two beatitudes:

5 Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain mercy.

Certainly there were people in the crowd that day that were meek, and he is telling them they are blessed. Meek does not mean weak or wimpy: it indicates one who is humble and gentle, who is comfortable in his or her own skin. They will inherit the earth because they understand that they already own what God has promised and that cannot be bought with all the riches in the world.

Jesus even   used “meek” to describe himself in the famous scripture in Matthew 11:29:

28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Were there people in the crowd listening to Jesus who were merciful? Jesus is affirming a core value of our Creator and that is to show mercy. God looked upon Israel with pity and mercy throughout Israel’s tumultuous history, forgiving its evil ways under evil rulers time and time again. The psalmists repeatedly cried out “have mercy on me O God.” The crowd following Jesus was familiar with mercy given. Jesus constantly displayed mercy toward those who were sick and suffering, even forgiving his executioners from the cross. They were familiar with mercy withheld too, for often the roads of Palestine were lined with Roman crucifixions, a merciless, torturous death.

These two beatitudes have something else in common. Beneath meek and merciful lurks another word: a word which is tamed by the values of the person who is meek and merciful. Join us on Sunday as we discover this “mystery word,” which Jesus had plenty of and taught us the right way to embody it. And hopefully, it will help us know Jesus just a little bit better……..

See you Sunday!

With love,

Sue

This Sunday’s Scripture

Matthew 5:  1-12

You’re Blessed

Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount

(The Message, ed. Kobie & Dan)

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught them. This is what he said:

3“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God.

4“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

6You’re blessed when you never give up in the struggle for justice.  Great is your joy when you experience God’s justice in human relationships.

7“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

8“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10“You’re blessed when your commitment to God’s all-inclusive love provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into your understanding of the way God wants us to live.

11-12“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—even give a high-five—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.