Read Matthew 5:1-20 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 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. 13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. So often the Beatitudes are described as “attitudes we ought to be” if we want to have that future kingdom of heaven. This, however, is a misunderstanding of what is being communicated by these opening words to that sermon Jesus preached on a hillside long ago. These are not things we strive for, or a list of categories to see how we fit into the list. These are the characteristics of all who are followers of Christ. In realizing our sinfulness we are poor in spirit. Seeing the reality of sin and evil we mourn. Understanding our sin makes us realize our lowliness. By the Holy Spirit that realization works in us a hunger for Christ’s Righteousness. Christ says, “You are blessed for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” Remember that His kingdom is not simply a thing, a place, or something in the future. It is also the present reign of God in your life now and for eternity. Prayer Jesus You have called me into Your kingdom. Grant that my life may demonstrate Your gracious work through humility, mercy, peacemaking, and hungering for Your righteousness. Amen.