Last Sunday was review week for children’s Sunday School. We reviewed the 6 stories from Daniel 1-6, and each child picked their favorite (ch. 6, Daniel in the lion’s den was the runaway favorite). We talked about the 10 Commandments, and which one was hardest for us (honoring parents is a struggle, but so also is truth-telling). And then we reviewed the 8 Beatitudes from Matthew 5, and asked which one each person was best at. It’s a tough list.
To be “poor in spirit” means to be humble. Once you say that you are best at humility, it seems you no longer are. But who is truly good at being poor; at being dependent? Who would boast that life is a continual struggle, just to keep your head above water?
We defined to “mourn” (#2) as being sensitive to sin. I hope those who thought they were good at this remain so. And #3, being “meek,” means that you don’t demand your own way, but give way to others. That’s hard. It’s a different kind of strength. I pray the young lady who thought she was good at this stays soft, and strong.
To “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (#4) means to have a heart for God. It means that you want what God wants. That would be a great trait for any/all of us.
To be “merciful” (#5) means that you are willing to forgive others, even as God has forgiven you. It was impressive to see young minds grasp the gravity of this obligation. It is not easy, for any of us. But it is necessary, for all of us.
“Blessed are the pure in heart” (#6). Even 5 year 0ld’s were careful not to rush in on that claim. They’ve been caught being naughty often enough to know that there are behavioral battles to win.
#7 is “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Peacemakers are not instigators. But neither are they those who hide in their own yards and refuse to face the conflicts of the neighborhood. Peacemakers are those willing to speak up for what is right, and to defend those being wronged. It is dangerous business, blessed by God.
Not surprisingly, not one person in our group, including the teacher, claimed to be best at #8: “Blessed are the persecuted.” We don’t even want to be best at that one. But let’s pray that, with deep roots of faith and faithfulness, we will be ready to stand for Christ, even now when it is not popular, and even some future day when it is no longer permitted.