Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
Matthew 5: 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “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 receive 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 for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I first sang an anthem arrangement of this song and I very much enjoyed it. I was quite pleased to find a hymn setting for it in Glory to God. The commentator for Glory to God wrote: “This hymn paraphrases the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12), the opening portion of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. Similar words of blessing also occur in the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6: 20-23). Both sets of sayings reverse worldly values and offer a new understanding of God’s ways.
Before we had this hymn, I was not aware of any hymn setting for the Beatitudes. This collaboration by David Haas and Michael Joncas resulted in a fine hymn easily singable for a congregation and choir with a little practice. The refrain calls us “to rejoice and be glad”. The refrain also assures us: “Yours is the Kingdom of God.”
O God, we thank You that Jesus taught us that the way things are can be changed. Through our efforts, we can work to make things the way You want them to be. Let us rejoice and be glad, for ours is the Kingdom of God. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.