"Their deliverance is not yet, but they should be fully conscious of divine blessing and favor...This condition (of blessing) has nothing to do with the pursuit of happiness or with the fortunate external circumstances. It has to do with openness to the gracious activity of God to save his people." ~D.E. Garland
This week's text is the Beatitudes. Familiar as it is to us, it is a lovely scripture to camp on for any season of life. I am particularly comforted by the paradoxical nature it holds, calling the listener to not look at the external but the internal, the unseen. The Kingdom comes not as glitzy Fifth Avenue window dressing but as a seed planted deep in the earth pushing up towards the sunlight. The promise of it will only be revealed in time but is never the less true. The blessing of God is always at work, redeeming and restoring his own to a state of blessedness.
I must admit I don't always see the blessing of God in the moment especially in times of pain and suffering. I don't always grasp the workings of God in the here and now. But the promise contained in the words of Jesus' famous sermon is that there really are forces at work that I do not see or feel--that the blessing of God and of his Kingdom is more real than today's circumstance. When I seek, mourn, hunger, thirst, or struggle with purity of heart, God gracious blessing is there.
I think I will hit the rewind button on my cassette tape player and listen again to what Jesus has to say to me. This sermon I never grow tired of hearing.