Doing a children’s sermon on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) is challenging because Jesus makes so many different points — nine of them! I think one good way around the problem is to take just two of the beatitudes and talk about them in ways that they relate to a child’s world.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and your suggestions for improving it!
Matthew 5:1-12: The Beatitudes
One day, Jesus looked around and saw that a huge crowd of people were coming to be with him. He decided that the best thing to do would be to go up on a hillside and teach his friends about the kingdom of heaven. He taught them a lot of things really. But the first thing he taught them about was where real happiness comes from.
You and I probably both have our own ideas about where happiness comes from. Sometimes it seems like we’d be really happy if it snowed a lot and school got cancelled. Maybe it seems like you’d be really happy if people would be kind to you instead of being mean. When you’re sick it can seem like we’d be happy forever if we were only healthy again.
Jesus talked about nine different things he thought real happiness comes from. He called it being “blessed.” Being blessed is like getting a special scoop of happiness that comes directly from God.
I’ll tell you the truth: Some of Jesus’ nine ideas about what it means to be blessed are pretty hard to understand.
Let me just tell you about two of them.
Blessed are the Merciful
One is that Jesus said we are really blessed, truly happy, if we are “merciful.” Showing mercy means being kind and generous. Being merciful means helping people with what they need, just because they need it.
I love it when people are merciful to me. When someone helps me do something hard, it makes my life better and I feel totally thankful.
Jesus had a special reason that we are blessed or happy if we are merciful. He said if we are merciful to other people, other people will be merciful to us.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
A second way Jesus said we are truly blessed, really happy, is if we are “peacemakers.” Being a peacemaker means helping other people get along. If people are having an argument, and you help them get past it, that’s being a peacemaker.
Sometimes one of the people having the argument is you. When you are having an argument, you are usually feeling really mad.
I don’t think Jesus was telling us to pretend we aren’t mad.
I don’t think Jesus was telling us that we could just make our mad feelings go away.
I think Jesus was telling us that when we feel mad, we have to make a choice about what we do with our feelings.
If we are mad, and we choose not to hit people, that’s one way to be a peacemaker.
When we are mad, and we choose not to say mean things to people, that’s one way to be a peacemaker.
If we can put our mad feelings into words, and work together to solve the problem that made us so mad, then we are doing a lot to make peace.
And you know what Jesus said? He said, that if we are peacemakers, we’ll be called God’s own children.
The Kingdom of Heaven
These things that Jesus said about true happiness — they are actually all about the Kingdom of Heaven. These things he talked about are all really about what God is like.
God is always merciful — so we are blessed if we are merciful too.
God is always working to bring peace — so we are blessed if we are peacemakers too.
Real true happiness comes when we learn to do the kinds of things that come straight from God’s heart. That’s what life’s about in the Kingdom of Heaven.
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