Toorak Uniting Church

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The Beatitudes

Matthew 5: 1 – 12
Rev. Robert McUtchen
24 October 2008

Riddle       what do you get when you cross a praying mantis with a cannibal?
Answer     Something that says grace before it eats you!

The beatitudes are about grace. God’s undeserved and unmerited favour. They have the potential to at once comfort those in trouble, and discomfort the comfortable.

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO…….
Are outside God’s economy by situation and even previous behaviour or experience.
Its all about grace. God’s unmerited favour to certain human situations.

You have seen several dramatic pieces in which people presented the situation of those to whom Jesus was speaking in the Beatitudes. They sum up so much of the Christian Gospel -

A promise of God’s reward when people find selves in particular situations – meaning:

We need to hear the promise of Jesus – not for complacency, but to avoid the sin of despair – God will be with us – so rather than despair, take courage to take every new opportunity the Lord creates for us.

Surely these are the essence of Jesus ministry – meeting outcasts, forgiving the unforgivable, acts of physical healing which were motifs for restoration and recreation to enjoy life in all its fullness.

This is the gospel we are called to share with the world in word and in deed.
Sharing in word is a challenge.
Sharing in deed can be downright confronting.

It can be disturbing to discover that those who seem to have done nothing receive God’s grace and favour. Like Jesus parable of the workers who started at different times of the day, yet all received the same payment. Those who began early were indignant. Human nature changes little over two thousand years. (Matt 20: 1 – 16.)

So:

Demands we reconsider: Have we any claim on God for being faithful?

There are creative possibilities:

The Beaititudes are indeed scandalous

Thanks be to God. Amen.

© Rev. Robert McUtchen, 2008


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