Five Minutes on Friday 57


We celebrated AWFS last Sunday but here is an attachment that will give you greater insight into our larger Anabaptist family.  This year’s worship material was prepared by the African churches. – download stories and videos from our African sisters and brothers.


SUNDAY – Matthew 5.1-12

For the next two months I am going to invite you reflect on the Beatitudes. 

Like Moses before him, Jesus goes up the mountain and teaches.  He begins with nine Beatitudes which are the most succinct account of what it means to be a Christian that we have.  One scholar calls them ‘the most significant words ever spoken.’  (Frederick Dale Bruner).  This is what it looks like to be a Christian.   So I will invite you to memorize and reflect on one Beatitude each week.  I will offer a few comments for you to begin but I encourage you to listen.  Meditate on these words as you drive to work, go for a walk, do housework, care for your family, go shopping.   What do you hear in Jesus’ words?  How does it touch your life?  The life of your neighbour?

We are familiar with the formula, ‘Blessed are those’ but there are many translations.  I will offer two:  a traditional reading from the NRSV and a new translation by Tom Wright.


Matthew 5.3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Wonderful news for the poor in spirit!  The kingdom of heaven is yours.

The Beatitudes go against the grain:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, but we say blessed are the achievers.’

Jesus is saying, ‘Christianity begins with the desperate.  Are you miserable?  Is your life in fragments?  Are your plans – for career, marriage, health in ruins?  Good news – this is where the gospel takes root. 

‘Poor in spirit’ = you know you’ve done something wrong.  You lose confidence, pride makes you ashamed, you are frightened to reveal your true self to anyone.  You fear the judgement of others.  And so you withdraw from church, from friends, from a regular relationship with God. 

        ‘As we flee from the truth about ourselves, the shortest distance between two points is a labyrinth.’            [C. Plantinga] – The Beatitudes – John Michael Talbot