First Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua

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September 2013

BLESSED ARE YOU! Pastor Points for September

The Beatitudes are among the most loved and familiar teachings of Jesus. Did you know that you can find them in two gospels? You will find nine beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 and four beatitudes in Luke 6:17-26. (Luke’s version also gives us “woes.”) We will discuss Jesus’ lessons on blessing and honor in a new adult Bible study series, on Wednesday evenings at six p.m. for nine weeks, beginning on September 11 and ending in November. We will read one chapter of Margaret Aymer’s book, Confessing the Beatitudes each week. If you would like to join our group, stop in the Pastor’s Office, and I will give you a copy of the workbook, free of charge. Although the subject we plan to study is serious, our group will be chatty and fun.

In Confessing the Beatitudes, Aymer, a professor of New Testament Studies, focuses on the teachings of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, helping readers connect faith with daily life. Jesus uses the Greek word "makarios," which means "honor” in English, when He preaches on the Beatitudes. In Matthew 5:3, He asks us to honor the destitute in body and in spirit. What do those words mean? How might we bend over backwards to help people who stand alone, in hopelessness, and offer Christian hospitality to them?

Jesus taught the Beatitudes to people living in Roman-occupied Palestine in the first century AD. The people who heard Jesus speak, experienced great oppression under the Roman Empire. Famine, poverty, and economic injustice were their experience. Although Jesus’ beatitudes reflect Rome’s cruelty to the common people, they proclaim the good news of God’s grace and love. By identifying the people whom God honors, we begin to understand how we might live in relationship with all our neighbors.

In the Roman Empire, powerful warriors, wealthy landowners, and families of kings were elevated to greatness. Yet Jesus tells the larger community of believers that theirs is the Kingdom of God. We are all blessed. It is our identity in Christ. Please join us!

Pastor Joyce

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3005 S. Front Street, Whitehall, PA 18052 | 610-264-9693 |
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