If Jesus had known what 2018 would look like, if he had known the struggles we would be facing today, he would have given us a new and better beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit? Bah! Now is the time to fight, and fight strongly and harshly. Rage against the dying of the light, do not go quietly into that night of sin and deviancy!
Blessed are those who mourn? Mourners need to get up off their duff and carry on, because the battle for everything good in our country rages around us. We need to make more of those other saps mourn, that's what we need!
Blessed are the meek? Poppycock! We don't need folks to be meek and mild, we need them to use every ounce of their strength to wrest control and power back into our wise and knowledgeable hands!
And I know I can fight this holy fight, because I hunger and thirst for righteousness and right living and good morals, I know that I am pure in heart unlike the evil, contemptible hordes!
And I will be merciful after I have broken their political power and overturned their laws, and then I will have made peace and justice flow.
Or so we are tempted to think.
So we are told to think.
But not by Jesus. Jesus knew what He was doing when He spoke the beatitudes, and they apply to us today. We need to hear them more than ever, because we don't think we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, or mourning, or meek. We want to fight, to crush our enemies, to knock them down a peg.
The world around us has riled up sin and flesh - I will concede that. But we are tempted to meet that and fight that with our own riled up sinful flesh.
That is not how it is to be.
When you see this world, remember that you are redeemed and forgiven by Christ.
When you see sin and death, remember that because of Christ you have the resurrection and the life.
When you are tempted to fight, remember that you can afford to lay down your arms because all thta you have is a gift from Christ, and He shall give you a new heavens and a new earth where all this junk will be remembered no more.
When you see your own sin and know that you aren't as righteous as your indignation would tell you, be satisfied in the fact that Christ has declared you righteous.
When you see sinners sinning, forgive as you have been forgiven.
When your heart becomes riled with anger and hatred, be purified by Christ and His mercy.
When they want to fight, declare the peace of the risen Christ - even if they still hate you.
Because they will. Even in the Church there are those who are sick and tired of the Gospel. They think the Gospel just means the bad people get away with it. And when you proclaim Christ's righteousness, a righteousness that is yours by gift, you will be hated. And you will be told that you need to fight. You will be told that you are a traitor. So be it - take heart, for blessed are you because Christ Jesus is your righteousness and therefore His Kingdom is yours, for He gives it freely.
And He will work in you, He will cause good fruits to flourish in you. Not the works the world wants, but fruit. Like love, and joy (oh, my friends, there still is joy in Christ), and peace, and patience (we can afford to be patient with the erring), and kindness and goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, and even self-control.
These are yours... but not in your zeal, not in your anger, not in your fear or rage against the culture. They are not yours in a social gospel, be it the old liberal one or the new conservative one. They are yours in Christ.
Christ Jesus has died for the sins of the whole world, even the ones that anger and hurt you. He has died for your sins, and you are forgiven in Him.
Therefore, as He said, you truly are blessed no matter what.
The peace of Christ be with you always.