Advent 50: The Message

Armodoxy for Today/Advent Journey 50: The Message

The Nicene Creed – “We Believe in the Father almighty, creator heaven and earth…” You know it, “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, begotten of the Father… Light of Light, Very God of Very God…” It’s the standard by which we proclaim Faith as members of the Christian Church, whether in the Orthodox or Roman Catholic traditions or in mainline protestant churches, the Nicene Creed is the Confession of Faith… This is what we believe.

And while we proclaim faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and confess his birth, baptism, passion, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, there is something that is not proclaimed in the Creed. We remember the events of Jesus’ life without mention of his teachings! We believe in what he taught!

What are the teachings of Christ? You’d be surprised to learn them, because some of them sound so outlandish: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” “Blessed are the meek.” “Do not resist evil.” “Turn the other cheek.” And “Love your enemies.”

These examples all come from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7. I refer to these three chapters as the “essential teachings” of Jesus. In fact, when students ask me how to read the Bible, I have them start at this point, because Jesus lays out what is asked of us by God. This Advent Season, we will be focusing on the Sermon on the Mount: The Essential Teachings of Jesus. Each one leading us to finding the Christ in Christmas.

Today, we begin with the reading of what is known as the Beatitudes. It is the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus outlines what is considered a blessing. Contemplate these today. You may wish to keep a journal, written or mental, through the 50 days of Advent. When we finish at the Theophany, we will read these once again, it will be interesting to compare your thoughts then with what you hear today.

St. Matthew records this in his Gospel, “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Cover photo: Luna & Gregory Beylerian for 2023

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