Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blessings Abound

I enjoy reading Eugene Peterson's The Message, a modern English paraphrase of The Bible.  When I do scholarly research, I prefer the New Revised Standard Version, but for devotional reading, I sometimes turn to The Message to get a fresh perspective.  To be clear, it is a paraphrase - it was not put together by a team of translators but by an individual.  With that in mind, it can be a very helpful read.

This Sunday, I will be preaching on The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.  I turned to Peterson's offering on these and found a delightfully different take on how we find ourselves blessed.  Give a read:
"The Sermon of the Beatitudes" by James Tissot
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

                                       Matthew 5:1-12 (The Message by Eugene Peterson)

Sometimes it is good to compare these to a more familiar translation and see if you agree with the differences.  How do they speak to you?

This Sunday, we'll explore the Beatitudes in worship.  They can be confounding and many of them don't sound like the normal characteristics in which we would find ourselves feeling blessed.  If you are in the Piedmont or Cashion area and are unaffiliated, come and join us for worship!

In Christ,


The song of the blog - does anyone know why "Salt of the Earth" would follow a post about the Beatitudes?


  1. Sam,
    You might also want to check out Clarence Jordan's translation in the Cotton Patch Gospels. He also wrote a book on the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes that is well worth reading.

  2. Here's the sermon from this post: