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Kolar: I love the beatitudes

"We tend to think of the blessed as those who experience good things, happy times, prosperity. When we are struggling, we think that somehow we have been cursed..." writes Janel Kolar.

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Rev. Janel F. Kolar is the pastor at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Contributed photo
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In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus sits down to teach the people and starts out by telling them about the “blessed”. We call these the “beatitudes” or, as a friend once heard in Bible study, the “BE attitudes”. He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” I don’t know about you, but when I think of people who are blessed, I seldomly think about the people Jesus listed here.

We tend to think of the blessed as those who experience good things, happy times, prosperity. When we are struggling, we think that somehow we have been cursed – especially when the struggles seem to pile on, as they surely did for the people Jesus was teaching that day. They were oppressed people – living under Roman rule and suffering in a system that kept them in check. They surely felt anything but “blessed”. And yet, Jesus assured them they were, because they would receive what they needed from him – perhaps not right away, but in that great someday we all wait for.

I love the beatitudes. They are a wonderful reminder to us that even when we are not on top of the world, we are blessed because Jesus loves us and promises that someday, even the lowliest, most marginalized, most persecuted, those with the saddest lives, will receive the reward of eternal life with him. Blessed are the children of God, even when they don’t feel blessed, because someday, the blessing of the greatest love ever known will be evident to them.

Related Topics: FAITH
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