Incredibly good stuff in this chapter!
i was very forcibly struck by the comment that the beginning of the beatitudes explains “what constitutes genuine blessedness”. I’ve talked about this before; that I think most of us miss opportunities for true understanding by assuming that we know what God’s definitions are. We have our ideas of what perfect or equal or blessed is, and work off of that, instead of really searching out what God means by those words. So I really appreciate that here we have been given what it means to be blessed.
I also really appreciate the differentiation laid out between the gospel and the law.The law is physical, with physical ramifications and physical penance, the gospel is spiritual, and requires spiritual atonement/offering.
I sing songs about Jesus to Z, and one of them is Love One Another. I’ve been struck by the words, “By this shall man know, ye are my disciples, if ye have love, one to another”- because that seems like such a huge statement. Is there so little love in the world that disciples of Christ will be recognized because they show love? Then I read this, and it makes so much sense: “Never before had Israel been required to love their foes. Friendship for enemies had found no place in the Mosaic code: indeed the people had grown to look upon Israel’s enemies as God’s enemies”. What a huge shift that must have required. To see everyone as God’s children, as all having the potential to be his “chosen ones”. How humbling, or, if taken in the wrong spirit, humiliating.
I really like the differentiation of “the saying of prayers” vs. “praying”. “Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul, of supplication based on the realization of need, of contrition and pure desire.” I really need to ponder that.
“The capacity to be grateful is a blessing, for the possession of which we should be further grateful.” Love that.
What jumped out to you?