“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them” – Matthew 5:1
The sermon on the mount begins with the Beatitudes. While you may not have all of them memorized, I am confident you can remember at least one or two of them. We have heard the Beatitudes many times and sometimes when something becomes familiar we miss out on the depths it contains. I believe Jesus is illustrating this when he taught, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.” Jesus was not abolishing the law but teaching the people of the greater breadth and depth that lived within the laws they had heard so many times before.
In the spirit of hearing afresh I invite us to listen to the poet Malcolm Guite. Malcolm’s poems have been part of our worship services in the past. His poem on the sermon on the mount and more specifically on the Beatitudes, helps us hear the truth and beauty of Christ in a new way.
Regarding his poem entitled, “Beatitudes” he writes,
“We can so easily feel defeated by the darkness of this present age and the apparent defeat of goodness at every turn, but in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus lifts the veil and gives us hope! The kingdom is coming and one day His Easter, his glorious resurrection will also be ours! The beatitudes are an invitation to live from and for that coming day, even now, to take the hidden light of his love and goodness and let it shine through us into the pre-dawn darkness of our world.”
We bless you, who have spelt your blessings out,
And set this lovely lantern on a hill
Lightening darkness and dispelling doubt
By lifting for a little while the veil.
For longing is the veil of satisfaction
And grief the veil of future happiness
We glimpse beneath the veil of persecution
The coming kingdom’s overflowing bliss
Oh make us pure of heart and help us see
Amongst the shadows and amidst the mourning
The promised Comforter, alive and free,
The kingdom coming and the Son returning,
That even in this pre-dawn dark we might
At once reveal and revel in your light.