The Beatitudes - How to Be...?

The Beatitudes – An introduction


Matthew 5. 3-12

He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This week I will be diverting slightly from the lectionary, and concentrating on the Beatitudes.

What are the Beatitudes?
There are eight Beatitudes, or the core attitudes of a Christian.  It contains a recipe for living, and for happiness.  It outlines a series of choices, and it gives us a programme for living.   These new choices are utterly opposed to the attitudes of the world. 

These are like the manifesto according to Jesus.
In today’s world we are in the midst of the EU referendum campaigning, we have the manifesto from the ‘in’ and the manifesto from the ‘out’.  But who is right? What difference will it make to the life we lead?

The manifesto that Jesus brought to us will make a difference to the way we live our life.  If we choose to live by them.

Jesus gives us a new understanding of the everyday words that we use he uses them in a new way..  The world might look at us on the outside but Jesus came to show us that it’s not the outside that matters but our inside.  The lives we lead when no-one is looking. 

To become a Christian involves learning a whole new language.  My failures and falls can be turned into compassion and understanding of others.  Love removes all price tags from gifts, and forgiveness is seventy times seven.  Richness is not stored in bank vaults and it’s OK for a grown man to cry. 

What do the beatitudes mean to you, in your life?
Can you think of one time when you actually experienced the Beatitudes at work in your life?

How involved are you in your community?  In every community there is a small group who cause things to happen.  In our community we have just had a major fundraising for our church, and I’m quite sure many people within our community don’t realise just how hard this one lady works for this one event.. Buying all the stuff needed, bringing all the equipment organising the volunteers (which is a job in itself).  When I arrived everything was set up and organised.  Then for the next 5 hours she worked tirelessly. 

Who was she working for?  Why was she doing it? For me I experienced someone who had the beatitudes in her life. 

There’s a larger group who watch things happening and then there are a larger group probably the majority of people who haven’t a clue what is happening. 

The beatitudes are not about guilt-tripping people.  It’s okay to have wealth, to have food, to be happy.  The important questions have to do with where the wealth came from, who is being excluded from the food, or who is being used in my pursuit of happiness. 

Some of us think that what we do is the most important thing.  That’s actually not true.. Who we are is much more important than what we do.  You see, you may help an old woman across the road, but if you are doing it just to impress others, then it isn’t so great.  If you volunteer to do things to get noticed for praise and acknowledgement then you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

We need to be kind not pretend to be kind, we need to help because we want to not because we expect something in return. 

If we are right on the inside it will show on the outside, but if we aren’t right on the inside eventually it will show in how we behave. 

An illustration for children:

There are many ways to illustrate this have two envelopes one plain brown, dirty and screwed up and a really clean white one.. in the plain brown one put some chocolate or a treat, in the other one put a bit of rubbish.
Without any introduction ask the children to put their hands up it they would like the plain brown one and then the white clean neat one.  Then choose a child to come up and open the white one first… and be very surprised to see what was in it.. then open the plain brown dirty one and be very surprised to see the treat inside.

Tell them that it’s not about what it looks like on the outside that really matters it’s what is on the inside that really matters.

Most of you choose the white shiny envelope but it was the tatty dirty brown envelope that held the treasure. 

We can look nice neat and wear the best clothes, but inside we might not be very nice.  I wonder how Jesus wants us to be?  What is it that the beatitudes teach us?

To remember how to ‘be’ – make a bumble bee to hang up.

Cut out 2 yellow card circles.
Then cut out another circle, and cut out 2 semi circle wings, colour two or three black stripes on the two card circles, add 2 wobbly eyes.
Put string between the two circles of card and glue.



Make a few and add a few flowers in between the bees they look really great hung up.  


J
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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