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The Beatitudes that begin the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew are one of the most talked about sections of the New Testament. They are seen as blessings with two phrases in each: the condition of the heart and the result tying the Old and New Testament together. Hope Clinic is using the Beatitudes as our theme for this year’s Hope for the Future Gala in a special art exhibit through the amazing work of world-renowned photographer Jeremy Cowart and the courage of our clients, volunteers and staff willing to share their story. To say I am excited by this year’s approach is an understatement. I know God will use this night in a special way beyond what I have ever seen before.

Of course this meant I needed to refresh my memory of the Beatitudes since I did not have them all memorized J. And here is my truth: while there are some things on that list that seem like real blessings in the present (meek, merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers), the other half is a list where the blessings don’t seem to happen this side of heaven. But the older I get, the more I realize I have experienced all of these ‘blessings’ and in fact, even under persecution, God has this amazing ability to truly allow you to be blessed this side of Heaven if you let Him. To receive or see the blessing in any circumstance takes a real relinquishment of your trust over to the One who created Heaven and Earth.

I think what I like most about the theme of the Beatitudes is the reality that if you live long enough as a believer you WILL in fact experience them all in your life. It may be distressful to hear that (who wants to mourn, be poor, persecuted or thirsty?), but it is also what connects us to each other. It levels the playing field, so to speak. We all have the same chance to receive and live through experiences that bring about blessings that go far beyond joy or sadness. That means it is true for you, me, and every client who walks in our doors. And most times, these moments of ‘blessings’ have a mix of both joy and sadness, not either or. The real blessing is that God is present beyond emotion at a soul level. A place only He can reach you and connect with you. And because of this I know I can walk beside someone who has shared in that same type of blessing, making it possible for me to connect to other people on a soul level. I believe this is the kind of connection God desires for us to have with Him and our neighbor.

Do you want to know more about this and understand how this ties together with our work? Join us March 31st at Houston Station in Nashville. Click here for more information.

Renée Rizzo