The Gospel reading for the last Sunday in January was Matthew 5:1-12, the passage which is generally referred to as The Beatitudes. The title comes from the Latin word “beatus/-a” which means “blessed” and reflects the first word of nine of the twelve verses, sayings of Jesus which begin “Blessed are …” It’s a beautiful and familiar section of scripture, and our worship leaders built the whole service on it. The minister preached on it. The choir sang a setting of it from the Russian Orthodox tradition. The hymns echoed the thought. It was a good reminder that in the midst of the chaos of the present time, we are all blessed children of God.
In the days following the service, I continued to ponder the Gospel lesson, and in doing so, recalled that there is another version of The Beatitudes recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Unlike the very familiar reading from Matthew, we rarely, if ever, encounter the Lukan version in worship. Comparing the two is an interesting exercise.