Readings for the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany
Matthew 5:1-12; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Micah 6:1-8
“Blessed” It’s a Gospel word, a good news word. Every service ends with a blessing – the benediction – in which God bestows peace, promise, and purpose on us all at once. No wonder that particular moment of worship is a favorite for so many.
But it’s also good to start with God’s blessing. Jesus begins his teaching ministry with a series of blessings known as the beatitudes. The people he’s talking to have all kinds of needs both physical and spiritual. Jesus speaks as a King making promises to his subjects – promises which he will back up with sweat and blood and the glory of resurrection (Matt 5).
The promises that Jesus makes sound foolish – like an empty fantasy – to worldly ears. The only Savior we know is a crucified Savior who turns worldly thinking on its head (1 Cor 1). The prophet Micah reveals the true desire God has for His people. That we seek what He seeks (justice), love what He loves (kindness) and serve as He serves (humbly) (Micah 6).