Blessed are the Merciful…

Beatitudes, Justice, Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

As you look at the four portraits painted by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the mercy of Jesus is prominent. Jesus is merciful to sinners. He’s merciful to tax collectors. He’s merciful to prostitutes. The only people to whom Jesus was not merciful were those who were unmerciful.

In my last blog entry I broke down the 4th Beatitude.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [dikaiosuné], for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

As I pointed out, “righteousness” might be better translated as either the word “justice” or “right-ness.” So the verse can be understood this way: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for things to be made right, for they shall be satisfied.

Now, let’s combine the 4th and 5th Beatitudes and look at them together.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for things to be made right, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

When you put these two Beatitudes together, you get a deliberate echo of Micah 6:8, which is the summary of the prophetic tradition:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

So they go together. And they have to go together. Because if you do not hold the 4th and 5th Beatitude together in tension, things go awry.

Embrace the New

Prayer, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your old way of thinking] for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17 (AMP)

On May 20th, 1936, Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” At the time, the usage of electricity was commonplace in cities. But most rural areas were still operating without electrical power.

The Rural Electrification Act paved the way with federal funding for the installation of electrical distribution systems in order to serve these rural areas. Immediately, electrical power became available to farms, ranches, and isolated settlements that until then had never experienced its benefit.

Everyday life for these rural folks had the potential to radically change in some of the most fundamental aspects – food preservation, dish-washing, cooking, laundry, bathing, and labor. A whole new world was at hand.