January 29, 2023: The Be-Attitudes – What is Good?

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany


Scripture: Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

Reverend Dr. Desi Larson

  • “I Am thine, O Lord,” by William H. Doane, arr. by Joseph Prentiss; Pauline Olsen, organ
    2007 Lorenz Publishing Company
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • “Glory in the Highest,” traditional Puerto Rican hymn, trans. by Gerhard Cartford, arr. by Raquel Mora Martínez; Trinity Singers
    Trans. © 1998 Augsburg Fortress
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • Hymn 71: “Glory Be to the Father (Gloria Patri),” by Henry W. Greatorex
  • Hymn 139: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” by Joachim Neander
  • Hymn 2174: “What Does the Lord Require of You,” by Jim and Jean Strathdee
    © 1986 Desert Flower Music
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • “Andante Sostenuto,” by Robert Lau
    © 2013 Lorenz Corporation
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow,” by Thomas Ken, music attr. to Louis Bourgeois
  • Special Music: “In This Very Room,” by Ron and Carol Harris, vocal arr. by Bryce Inman; Patty Shoop and Cynthia Zenner, vocals
    © 1979 Ron Harris Music
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • Readings from Scripture: Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15; Neil Parse
  • Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
  • Sermon: “The Be-Attitudes…What is Good?” Pastor Desi Larson
  • Hymn 2184: “Sent Out in Jesus Name,” words anon., trans. by Jorge Maldonado, music trad. Cuban, arr. By Carmen Peña
    Trans. © 1988, arr. © 1996 Abingdon Press
    ONE LICENSE #A-741127
  • Hymn 206: “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light,” by Kathleen Thomerson
    © 1970, 1975 Celebration
    CCLI License #2564464
  • “Postlude on Evangel,” music by W. H. Doane, arr. By Marilyn Thompson; Pauline Olsen, organ
    © 2014 Lorenz Publishing Co.
    CCLI License #2564464

Sermon Outline: Be-Attitudes – What is Good?

1. Context: Mountaintops and Teachings

a. Moses and Jesus parallels
b. Moses and Mount Sinai: Ten Commandments
i. Torah (תורה) in Hebrew can mean teaching, direction, guidance and law
ii. Aseret ha-dvrot: ( עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת) “Ten Sayings”, 1st 10 of 613 commandments
iii. Jesus as Teacher, new Moses teaching a new kind of righteousness

2. Blessed

a. What is it to bless and be blessed?
b. Blessed and blessing as a counter-cultural way of being: Blessedness v. Joy v. Human happiness [Makarios (Gk: blessed) describes that joy which has its secret within itself, which is serene and untouchable, and self-contained, joy which is completely independent of all the chances and the changes of life.
c. ‘No one,’ said Jesus, ‘will take your joy from you.’ (Jn.16:22)

3. Jesus and the Beatitudes

a. What is good is turned upside down
b. Following Jesus is to be like Him
c. Blessed when we mourn

4. Two Contemporary Examples of “Blessed are those who mourn”

a. Amy Biehl, South Africa, 1994
b. West Nickel Mines Amish School Shooting, 2006

5. Three Spiritual Practices from the Beatitudes/Be-Attitudes

a. To mourn our sin
b. To hunger for righteousness, fasting
c. To be peacemakers

6. Building Beloved Community: Two Contemporary Examples of Beatitude Ministries
“More important than examples of solitary ‘heroes and saints’ would be accounts of communities living out the Beatitudes” (Arthur Paul Boers, Baylor University, 2008)

a. Precious Blood Ministries, Chicago
b. Rutba House, Walltown, Durham, North Carolina


“Each of the beatitudes has to do with dying to self. Poverty of spirit, the foundation of the beatitudes, is the ongoing process of dying to self, not out of self-hatred or a collapse of self-esteem, but because there is no other way to love God and neighbor.” – Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes, 1999.

“The restoration of the church will surely come from a new kind of monasticism, which will have nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising adherence to the Sermon on the Mount in imitation of Christ. I believe the time has come to rally people together for this.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1935.

Matthew 5:1-12, Eugene Peterson, The Message

5 1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.