Thursday, December 27, 2012

Covenant, Justice and the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)

As Congress and President Obama negotiate (or fail to negotiate) on a new budget deal that will keep our country from going over the fiscal cliff, I would like to reflect on Matthew 5:1-12, which is one of the Gospel versions of The Beatitudes. If you look closely at the wording, there is an emphasis on our covenant with God and with each other (manifested in our need to place a priority on those who are less fortunate). Here are notes from one Bible scholar, who consulted on the writings of other Bible scholars.  In scripture the word blessed or blest translates to fortunate.  Some translations use the word happy.

Fortunate are you if you recognize the poverty of your human condition and know your need for God and are open and loyal to him in your life, for you are in God's kingdom (or under his rule) and your Patron cares for you.

Fortunate are you if you're discouraged by the social injustices which dominate you and your society while you strive to behave in accord with the covenant demands of justice, for you live under God's leadership (in the "holy" land).  -Psalm 37

Fortunate are you if you are single-minded ("one-tracked") in your pursuit of righteousness, i.e. good relationships are your highest value and priority, for you stand in the presence of God and enjoy his patronage without having to make a pilgrimmage to the "Temple" -Psalm 24

No comments: