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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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Sara Barnacle
Sara Barnacle
July 5, 2017 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… Read more »

Arnaldo Carrera
Arnaldo Carrera
July 5, 2017 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.

Mary Bistline
Mary Bistline
July 6, 2017 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

Shirley Dauterman
Shirley Dauterman
July 6, 2017 3:36 pm

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

Shirley Dauterman
Shirley Dauterman
July 6, 2017 3:37 pm

Thank you so much

Pam Gasteen
Pam Gasteen
July 6, 2017 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.

Doug Edgar
Doug Edgar
July 9, 2017 4:28 pm

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

Doug Edgar
Doug Edgar
August 6, 2017 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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