Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6

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At first glance, today’s text may be very familiar to most of us, and that may be the problem. When it comes to our religious understanding, we need to look anew, to see that many verses are also filled with unending mysteries that will simultaneously disturb us as well as comfort us.

The Beatitudes – and indeed the entire Sermon on the Mount, from which this text is selected – are amazing statements. They confound everyday assumptions and actions. Look closely and you’ll see just how political they are, too – in the situations the people faced when Jesus first preached this message as well as our own. What are we to do, then?

Mindfulness of these strengthens and enlightens faith journeys, deepening and enriching us as we go.  You can’t learn anything if you think you know it all. You can’t fill a drinking glass that’s turned upside-down. Or, as one teenager said when he first encountered these teachings, “This is insane! This is crazy!” Which just may be why it’s so revolutionary and challenging, ready to point us in new directions.

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And therefore is he striving by this his Spirit in the Hearts of the Children of Men, to bring them out of all Forms of human establishing, that they may worship him in Spirit and in Truth, and serve him in the Gospel of his Son, that so they may be accepted through him. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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