Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bishop’s Note: November 10, 2016 – The Beatitudes

Bishop Eric Menees

On November 1st we celebrated the Feast of All Saints; many of our churches transferred the celebration to last Sunday, the 6th, which is completely acceptable. In 844 Pope Gregory IV established November 1st as the date for all the church to “remember the martyrs and all the faithfully departed.”

This feast is very important because we remember the promise of Christ found in John 14:1-6 ending with the declaration: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The gospel most often associated with this feast day is the Beatitudes, which represent the heart of Jesus’ ethical teaching and the goal for all Christians to live into:

[3] Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[4] Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

[5] Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

[6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

[7] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

[8] Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

[9] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

[10] Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[11] Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:3-12 ESV)

Bishop J.C. Ryle, the 19th Century Bishop of Liverpool, put it well when he spoke of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes:

“Thanks be to God for our Lord’s words to those people by the Sea of Galilee because of them we would know what kind of people Christians ought to be. We would know the character at which Christians ought to aim. We would know the outward walk and the inward habit of mind which become a follower of Jesus. Then let us often study the Sermon on the Mount. Let us often ponder each sentence, and prove ourselves by it. Not least lest us often consider who they are that are called BLESSED at the beginning of the sermon. Those whom the great High Priest blesses are blessed indeed.”

I pray that we will endeavor to honor those who’ve gone before us; that we will respond to Christ’s teaching by seeking to live into the Beatitudes, like the saints who we celebrate and remember; and - in doing so - that we will be ambassadors of Jesus Christ and “all the saints” to everyone we interact with. 

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man

The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

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