‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’
Today we start a series on the 8 Beatitudes, or Blessings of God, from Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’  . In Bishop Steven Croft’s first reflection  on these 8 blessings he uses these words, ‘These eight blessings will give us a vision for what it means to be fully alive, to live as God intends, both as individuals and as a community’. How can this be when Jesus gets talking about those who are poor in spirit, or mourn, or hunger and thirst, or even suffer persecution?! It is because Jesus also promises for such people ‘the Kingdom of Heaven will be theirs’, that ‘they will be comforted’, ‘they will be satisfied’. You see in some way, Jesus says that in facing these things about ourselves, the truth about each of our hearts, we will open a gate to blessing from our Father in heaven. As Bishop Steven says, promises are attached! I pray that as we work through each of these blessings, that’s exactly what they’ll become – gateways to the realities of God’s promises. Discovering that the Kingdom of Heaven, which as Jesus said “is among you”, is the most amazing place, a place where blessings will be released, even among those who are poor of spirit, who mourn, and so on – indeed especially so!! So to start with the 1st one, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’: as someone said to a few of us this week, “My husband and I discovered years ago that we could be so busy doing things for God we didn’t have time for Him!” You may not be taken up with ‘doing God’s work’, but you may just as easily be taken up with something else…. I hope all of us today can unpack something of how real is our deep need for God himself – so that out of the poverty of our own spirits, we can discover what we really need to help us ‘be fully alive’ under God’s hand, ‘to live as He intends’.
 Matthew 5.3  Matthew 5.1-12  Many of you used Bishop Steven’s booklet ’40 days reflections on the Beatitudes over Lent and Easter’ quote from p11