So often as a kid and teen I would hear that the Beatitudes are just that, attitudes that you should be, as if they are something to seek out and try and become. However, what Jesus imparts to us in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount here is not a prescription, but a description. The Beatitudes describe a community already following God.
The people Jesus speaks about in his Beatitudes are a hopeful people – people who live with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in God’s hands. These people are referred to in Greek as makarios. Makarios has been translated and understood in a variety of ways; the most common translations are blessed, happy, and fortunate.
A translation I’ve come to greatly appreciate comes via the Spanish bienaventuranza – which can simply mean “blessed,” but also translates to English as “a good adventure to you.” The late liberation theologian Jorge Lara-Braud, said in regard to this translation of bienaventuranza in the Beatitudes, “We all know that adventure means risk, the courage to defy the odds, the refusal to play it safe.” To follow Jesus is not safe; following Jesus is an adventure full of risk.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness to a world who mainly seeks to climb mountains and remain there. As a community of believers who believe Jesus came to turn the world upside down, to comfort those whose backs are against the wall, I say confidently we are both foolish and blessed, and I look forward to serving you as your pastor on this adventure.
– Rev. Nick