Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In the 17th chapter of Acts when Paul and Silas and the others are on a missionary journey that takes them through Thessalonica where they share the Good News of Jesus. Some of the Thessalonians said of them in an uncomplimentary way, “These people are turning the world upside down.” Of course, they weren’t. It just depends on what your perspective is. What they were doing is turning an upside down world right side up. Or they were seeking to do that as they shared the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
That is the force of the words of the Sermon on the Mount. They turn our values upside down. They take what we simply accept to be right side up and they make us see that, in fact, it’s upside down. These are the right side up values. These are the values that help us to get our lives turned right side up, to get our lives straight and to lead the abundant life to which Jesus came to bring us.
- K. Chesterton, the great British pastor and author of detective stories, commented on the Sermon on the Mount: “On first reading you feel that it turns everything upside down, but the second time you read it you discover that it turns everything right side up. The first time you read it you feel it is impossible, the second time, you feel that nothing else is really possible.”
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster