Sermon for 01 Nov 2020

Beatitudes Matt 5: 1-12
At one time I could refer to either the bible or Monte Python and people would know who I meant but I am not so sure about that now. However Monte Pythion did a version of the beatitudes at one point in the Movie “Life of Brian”. Two people are in the distance trying to listen to Jesus. One says “What was he saying? The other replies “I think he said the Greeks shall inherit the earth” Later he says “Oh blessed are the cheesemakers”. If you don’t get the joke you need to watch “Life of Brian” and read the bible.
The Beatitudes really are Jesus keynote speech. If you are at a conference, the keynote speech is the focus through which the entire event is centered. The same is true with the beatitudes. They should be the main lens through which we see Christianity. There is another but similar version in Luke 6: 20-26.
The first one is Blessed are the Poor (in Spirit) for theirs is kingdom of heaven. If we view this from the financial perspective, Jesus is making the point that if you are obsessed with money you are never satisfied and therefore never happy. Being poor brings a reality check to what is truly important. Through this pandemic people are discovering that time spent with friends and family are more important that monetary gain. If we view this from the spiritual perspective, I think Jesus is trying to draw us away from the more haughty spirit to the humble.
The second beatitude is: Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Comfort often comes from others who have been through a similar experience. When you are in a state of mourning then you are in a state of need and therefore more open to the help that others are willing to give. Your barriers are down.
I remember a story years ago which likened life to a sphere. It is only when it’s broken that it is open. Love can only come through a crack.
Third beatitude is “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. In a world where we epitomize violence and military strength, the idea of meekness is often discredited. However being meek is being in control of your emotions. It is not reacting in violence and anger. It is portrayed as being walked on but it is being able to absorb the insults and accusations and then seek healing for yourself and the others.
As one person said, the meek inherit earth because the arrogant destroy it (or they use it up in legal fees). The meek are more likely to appreciate the gift that we have been given.
The next one is Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for they will be filled. Matthew adds hunger for righteousness while Luke leaves it simply at the physical level. In both cases, if righteousness is sought after then people will be fed both physically and mentally. He is encouraging us to not stop searching.
The fifth Beatitude says: Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. This is not unlike the one about the meek. It is counter to our culture where the fashionable cry is to show no mercy and take no prisoners. Mercy is portrayed as a weakness yet it is the truly strong person who can show mercy. Tha last sentence about receiving mercy is applicable to yourself. You may not always get mercy from an enemy but if you now how to shoe mercy to someone you hate you will be able to show mercy to yourself, and that is a very difficult thing to do.
The sixth beatitude is: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. This is more just a statement of fact. You find what you search for, IF you look for the ugly and bad, that is what you will find in others and in yourself. If you look for the good, then that is what you will find. In Matthew 21:31- Jesus said harlots would go into heaven before religious leaders because they did not judge others.
The seventh is: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. That is the highest recognition. To be called children of God. Possibly because that takes the most work and is met with the highest degree of opposition. A peacemaker is not someone who simply walks away. Rather a peacemaker is someone who pulls together peaceful resources to correct the injustice which causes strife. The old expression is “there is no peace where there is no justice”.
Finally Jesus understood that being different would cause difficulty. He knew that going against the status quo would cause people to be upset, sometimes to the point of violence so his last beatitude was: Blessed are you when people shall persecute you.
Sometimes people use that sentence to prove that what they are doing is good because others are offended but that is not the point. The point is that when you try to correct the direction of yourself or the world it is hard.
Just because you are being persecuted doesn’t mean you are right but when you are right you will be persecuted.
Last night, being halloween, you spent a lot of time looking for spirits. Possibly you didn’t have any little ghosts or goblins to your house because of the covid but the beatitudes give us insight in how to be saints.
Take some time and re-read this list. Think about each recommendation. It really is the heart and soul of the Christian ethic.
God. Open our hearts that we might lose our arrogance and welcome your love into our lives. Help us to allow cracks in our perception of our perfection that wisdom and gratitude might sneak in. Help us to be humble enough to realize that we are not above anyone. Help us to be stewards of others and the earth. God, we need to have hearts that see the good in every human being. We need to speak up for justice and equality. We need to be prepared to put our faith to the test.
Thanks for your son, Jesus who embodied all these traits. Thanks for his willingness to be tested to the ultimate so that we can see how faithfulness prevails.
God we seek a better world. We seek a better self. Help us to follow Christ.
Now we pray in the way Jesus taught us.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us
lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen
Etransfer info at bottom of page
Gilford Drive through hot roast beef supper On November 18 – no more tickets.
The Official Board met and is tentatively opening the church on Nov 8. However that will be up to the members. You should have already received an email explaining the situation. The on-line videos will continue whether the church is open or not.
Thanks to Aubrey, Cheryl and Chelsea
Opening Prayer
Hymn – 356 Seek Ye First
Scripture Matthew 5: 1-12
Lord’s Prayer
Hymn 271 There’s a wideness in God’s Mercy
Go now in Peace
Go now in peace, Never be afraid
God will go with you, each hour of every day
Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do,
Go now in love and show you believe
Reach out to others so all the world can see
God will be there, watching from above
Go now in peace, in faith and in love
Amen, Amen, Amen
Info about contributing
The traditional way is to send a cheque via mail to one of the treasurers.
Make the cheque out to:
Churchill United Church
send to Agnes Cole at 226 Valleyview Dr. Churchill, Ont L0L1K0
or Gilford United Church
send to Doris Coborn at 1468 Gilford Rd, Gilford. L0L1R0
An Alternative (and better) way is Etransfer
(This method is faster, cheaper and cleaner. If you don’t know how to do it, the bank or some young kid has instructions)
Send the Etransfer to
The security question is – What is the name of your church
Answer – Churchill
No security question
Another option is contact us and we will pick it up from your porch. Thanks
Nov 1, 2020 service