blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy
blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If you grew up, like I did, in the Catholic Church, then you are familiar with the above gospel, and the way it is traditionally taught. Although homilies always differ from priest to priest, and church to church, it is most commonly read on All Saints Day. And it is most commonly taught as the framework or the "how-to" for parishioners and followers to be more saintly, to be better Christians: Be pure of heart, be peacemakers, thirst for righteousness, and be merciful. Of course all of those things are important and essential to our journey as Christians. But as much as I always loved this, and became familiar with it growing up, parts of this still seemed to be a mystery to me. What did Jesus mean that day, what was he trying to tell these people, these followers? I think I loved it because the language was inclusive and hopeful. What I did know, even back then, is that it spoke about human weakness and suffering and it spoke about the hope of His kingdom and God's love for us.
Fast forward many years later, when I stumbled upon a blog by a Lutheran Pastor from Denver named Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia posts her sermons on her blog to read and/or listen to regularly. It quickly became my routine to listen to these sermons, I would wait for them to be posted and listen on the couch in the early mornings with a cup of coffee. This was where I truly fell in love with the sermon on the mount, the beatitudes. I won't attempt to retell Nadia's brilliance so please if you haven't already, just go listen to it (or read it) here! She preaches this gospel from another perspective, one that I hadn't heard, but just seemed more true than any other sermon I had heard. She flipped the script, in the most beautiful way. She explains by saying:
"Because, what if the beatitudes aren’t about a list of conditions we should try and meet to be blessed. What if these are not virtues we should aspire to.... Maybe the sermon on the mount is all about Jesus’ seemingly lavish blessing of the world around him especially that which society doesn’t seem to have much time for, people in pain, people who work for peace instead of profit, people who exercise mercy instead of vengeance. So maybe Jesus is actually just blessing people, especially the people who never seem to receive blessings otherwise. I mean, come on, doesn’t that just sound like something Jesus would do?" Nadia Bolz-Weber
And I sat on my couch that morning, coffee in hand, saying "Yes, YES, this is what Jesus was saying! This, THIS sounds exactly like something Jesus would do!" Because the Jesus I've read about throws around blessings, not conditions. The Jesus I know, preaches about those who the world doesn't make time for. The beatitudes that I fell in love with, were the ones Nadia preached to me over her podcast. The story that tells of Jesus standing on the mount telling every person who didn't feel worthy, or loved, or accepted that there was a place for them in God's kingdom. The sermon on the mount is the story of Jesus professing God's love for the ones who couldn't feel it, the ones who needed to hear it the most and he said to them: "Yes and you too, especially you too. I love you and there is a place for you in my kingdom."
I am surprised how many times I have been asked, "But what does it mean?", This is what it means to me, and this this is why we knew we wanted to make it. It's the sermon on the mount. These are the words Jesus used to to tell us that no matter what, we are worthy, we are loved, we are wanted, and we belong. When I wear my tee, I am reminded of all of it. Of the original mystery of this gospel, of Nadia's words which made me truly fall in love with it, , and of course of Jesus standing on the mount preaching it.
***The art for the Beatitudes Tee was hand written by the talented artist and calligrapher, Sarah Hanna. You can check her work out here. It is truly one of a kind and beautifully represented on our signature Bianti fabric.
Beatitudes is now $35.25 when you use code EXTRA25 at checkout.