Too often we read the Beatitudes as passive statements or promises of future rewards, but they are an active proclamation of God’s reign amid human misery, a prophetic reversal of the status quo, a call to build a just and humane society. True blessedness is not meek or submissive but...
O God, “give us the freedom and power . . . to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” Amen. (UM Hymnal, Baptismal Covenant IV)
We must beware of counterfeit gospels. According to one current counterfeit gospel, we deserve God’s favor based on our deeds or intellect or status. The readings for this week remind us that this is false. Yes, the Israelites offer sacrifices, but they are first and foremost called to show mercy because they have received divine mercy. The psalmist asks who can stand in God’s holy dwelling and so provides a list of ways to live morally. Ultimately no one can stand before God on merit alone. Paul reminds the Corinthians that human wisdom is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God, and thus we should not puff ourselves up based on our intellect. Jesus teaches that those who may seem insignificant in the eyes of the world are great in the kingdom of heaven.
Read Micah 6:1-8. How have you let down God? What changes can you make to recommit to your relationship with God?Read Psalm 15. Consider the notion that the requirements for dwelling with God are in how we treat our friends and neighbors. How does this change the ways you seek God?Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. When have you seen God’s work in the world in a way that is antithetical to human standards?Read Matthew 5:1-12. How do you maintain a poverty of spirit in your relationship with God? How does this help you to serve God and others?
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