Hear these words from our culture:
Blessed are the self-sufficient
for they will never have to depend on anybody
Blessed are the upbeat
for nobody wants to be around a downer
Blessed are the dominant
for they get to rule the world
Blessed are the indifferent
for they can turn a blind eye to the injustice in the world
Blessed are the religious
for they get to choose their friends
Blessed are the ruthless
because some people don’t deserve mercy
Blessed are the powerful
for they will never be hurt
Blessed are the popular
for life is all about being well-liked
Now hear these words from Jesus:
Blessed are those who are poor at being spiritual
for the kingdom of heaven is well-suited for ordinary people
Blessed are the depressed who mourn and grieve
for they create space to encounter comfort from another
Blessed are the gentle and trusting, who are not grasping and clutching
for God will personally guarantee their share when heaven comes to earth.
Blessed are those who ache for the world to be made right
for them the government of God is a dream come true
Blessed are those who give mercy
for they will get it back when they need it most
Blessed are those who have a clean window in their soul
for they will perceive God when and where other’s don’t.
Blessed are those who stand for peace in a war-torn, gun-toting world
for they are God’s children working in the family business
Blessed are those who are mocked and misunderstood for the right reasons
for the kingdom of heaven comes to earth amidst such persecution.*
— To the person reading this who is thinking “amen” and is ready to click “share,” I would like to remind you that the Sermon on the Mount and the Crucifixion are not two different things. Rather, one is the natural outcome of the other.
— To the person reading this who is thinking “those are nice ideals, but living this way will get you killed.” I would like to say to you, “that’s the point.”
This is the way we live.
This is the way we love.
It may result in the world crucifying you.
Yet God vindicated Jesus by raising Him from the dead, showing that this kind of life wins out in the end.
(Patrick Craig is a graduate student at Duke University Divinity School)