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How the Beatitudes come alive on a Galilean Hill

There are few places in Israel more ‘ground zero’ to Christianity than the Mt. of Beatitudes on the shores of the Galilean Sea, the subject of this month’s video blog. It is in this beauty-filled place that historians think Christ Jesus gave a sermon that included the core teachings of what it is to be part of the community of believers, of Christ’s Church.

The heart of this teaching, called “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7), are the Beatitudes.  These eight verses, unified by their common beginning of  ‘blessed’ (makarios in Greek), address an objective–not subjective–state of happiness.   Moving far beyond an emotional state of happiness, Jesus pointed his followers to an objective reality of being spiritually enriched because of one’s citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Christians have made pilgrimages to this sacred site since the 4th century, the first thought to be an Italian woman, Egeria.  Visiting in 380, she wrote to her Christian community back home, “Near there on a mountain is the cave to which the Savior climbed and spoke the Beatitudes.”  A 4th-century Byzantine church was built to commemorate the site, featuring an unusual octagonal floor, in honor of the eight Beatitudes.  The modern Catholic church (in this photo and the video blog) was built in 1936, near the 4th-century Byzantine ruins.

We hope this month’s two-minute video blog gives you, too, the feeling of peace and serenity felt on a recent visit.

Regardless of whether this is the exact spot where Jesus Christ delivered this Sermon on the Mount, or one nearby, the sense of elevation over the sea, the shady trees and the tranquility all make it likely that here was first heard the Sermon to stand through the ages.  And now we get on with trying to live it more.

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12 Responses to How the Beatitudes come alive on a Galilean Hill

  1. Sara Barnacle July 5, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    Thanks for this inviting, first-person visit. Thinking of the beatitudes as keys to the kingdom is a worthy counterpoint to the claim that succession in office from Peter somehow constitutes those keys.

    One seemingly small point: I think I heard you say that “blessed” is from a Hebrew word, where I’m sure you meant Greek. Getting the linguistic context right helps people grasp the social, political, economic, and governmental, as well as religious environment for Bible texts. But you know all that. Thanks so much for all the good work you have done and continue to do! It’s never been more needed than now.

    • Madelon July 5, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      Thank you for writing and you are so correct that I should have said ‘Greek’ rather than ‘Hebrew’–only realized after back in the states where I couldn’t re-edit. These videos were filmed quite spontaneously on various sites with dozens of people milling about and talking. I’m grateful that some key points are conveyed!

      But you raise an important point which led me to do a bit of research on the Hebrew use of ‘blessed’ used in many Old Testament/Hebrew citations, starting with Gen. 1:22. “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply…”. Readers might be interested in Strong’s background on the Hebrew definition of the term, which was expanded by use of the Greek ‘makarios’ as used in Matthew quoting Jesus’ sharing of the Beatitudes.

      1288 בָּרַךְ, בָּרַךְ [barak /baw·rak/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 285; GK 1384 and 1385; 330 occurrences; AV translates as “bless” 302 times, “salute” five times, “curse” four times, “blaspheme” twice, “blessing” twice, “praised” twice, “kneel down” twice, “congratulate” once, “kneel” once, “make to kneel” once, and translated miscellaneously eight times. 1 to bless, kneel. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to kneel. 1A2 to bless. 1B (Niphal) to be blessed, bless oneself. 1C (Piel) to bless. 1D (Pual) to be blessed, be adored. 1E (Hiphil) to cause to kneel. 1F (Hithpael) to bless oneself. 2 (TWOT) to praise, salute, curse.

      Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship

  2. Arnaldo Carrera July 5, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    Hi Madelon I really enjoyed this video blog. It did give me a great sense of peace. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Madelon July 5, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      Thank you Arnaldo. It definitely gives one that sense in person and grateful it came through in the video. So nice to hear from you and sending warmest greetings.

  3. Mary Bistline July 6, 2017 at 7:27 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful place, and sharing about our
    life activities, the action of the Beatitudes! Our being!!!!

    Thank you so much

  4. Shirley Dauterman July 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I enjoyed the photos and the messages very much. Thank you !

  5. Shirley Dauterman July 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Thank you so much

    • Shirley Dauterman July 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

      Those photos are wonderful!

  6. Pam Gasteen July 6, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Dear Madelon,
    Thanks for taking us up the mountain of inspiration.
    Loved to hear again that the Beatitudes are the Key to the Kingdom of Heaven.
    I shall read them again today
    Lots of love
    Pam Gasteen Wynnom Soc. QLD Aust.

    • Madelon August 9, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      So good to hear from you Pam and am delighted that it appears I’ll be returning in the coming year to see your beautiful country once again. Love to all in your church.

  7. Doug Edgar July 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    Madelon: Thank you so much for the light on the “Keys of the Kingdom.” Doug

  8. Doug Edgar August 6, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    Madelon: I’m sure you know this, but i’m mentioning it any how. There is a very close study of the Beatitudes in the October 1909 Christian Science Journal, titled “A Study of the Beatitudes”, by Wilton H. Mckerral, four pages.
    Doug Edgar

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