“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.” — Matthew 5:7
Whenever I turn on my laptop, a beautiful nature scene greets me. It can be from any place around the world, such as a waterfall in Africa or a medieval castle in Ireland. Whatever the setting, it elicits my inner voice: “I wish I was there!”
But to get there involves traveling. Planning, packing, financing. Dealing with planes and airports, plus trains and taxis and ubers. Finding lodging and food. Keeping an eye on passports.
Sometimes it’s just easier staying home, being safe, seeing the same things, and following the same routines. There’s beauty out there, but the price is just too high.
When Jesus preached his opening Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, he painted an absolutely breathtaking picture of what it’s really like to live in God’s kingdom. Trusting God, forgiving enemies, making peace, caring for one another, building relationships, enjoying love.
The Beatitudes are Jesus’ invitation to enter this picture. There is some work to be done, similar to figuring out how to book airline tickets online. For example, the Master said that we’re to be merciful to those we don’t feel like being merciful to. But when we do, somehow we’re delighted that we receive that surprising grace as well, from unexpected sources at unexpected times. That’s just how God’s kingdom works.
The kingdom, unlike my computer scenes, we can enter and explore every day.