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Archive for the ‘Beatitudes’ Category

I had an operation on my wrist last week, and find that the restricted movement that has been imposed upon me for the next 10 days means I’m looking for things I can do without causing too much pain. I decided video editing was a safe thing to do – use one hand, point and click. Okay there have been a few moments when I’ve forgotten and tried to hold a button down, but the sharp pain up my arm reminds me it’s not the thing to do! Anyway, I’ve put together a short video of my trip to Israel and include it here to give you a flavour not only of the trip, but also of the sights and sounds of land.

 

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Church of the Beatitudes

Church of the Beatitudes

Overlooking the Sea of Galilee is the Mount of Beatitudes and commemorating Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is the Church of the Beatitudes; the church is octagonal symbolising the eight beatitudes.   The setting is amazing – cool and quiet gardens overlook the Sea of Galilee, and the panorama would have been much the same as when Jesus conducted his ministry in this area;  all in all, an excellent place to contemplate some of the best-known Christian teachings.   

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 be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Of course Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contained more than just the beatitudes.   (See Matthew chapters 5 to 7).  There is great wisdom in Jesus’ words, but more than that, Jesus’ words are eternal and have the power to change the world, and if we would just live by them we would know great peace in our lives.  What Jesus was speaking about were the principles at the heart of Christian living.  Jesus taught about important attitudes and behaviour: anger, deception, desire for revenge, marriage and divorce, enemies, and so on. Instead of money and material possessions, believers should be making God and His work the chief priority. He also had something to say about religious hypocrisy. Prayer, giving and fasting are all very good, but if they are done just to get praise and admiration, then they are valueless.   And he ended with these words:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The Sermon on the Mount points us in the right direction and teaches the things that Jesus cares about.  Maybe we should read it and reflect on it more often.

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