Imagine a sermon that begins:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who are unemployed, blessed are those suffering terminal illness, blessed are those who are going through marital distress.
The Congregation does a doubletake. Blessed? Fortunate? Lucky? What kind of world is this? In America, if you are unemployed, people treat you as if you had some sort of disease [or consider you lazy or irresponsible if it goes on too long for them]. They don’t want to catch what you have. If your marriage is a failure, you are a failure. That doesn’t sound very blessed.
The preacher says, “Wait. I should have been more clear. I wasn’t talking about your kingdoms, the kingdoms built upon success and achievement and earnest striving. I was talking about the kingdom of God.” In this topsy-turvy place, our values are stood on their head. Little in this kingdom comes naturally. It comes because God is in charge and because we are invited to be part of God’s rule.
-From, Lord Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life (Abingdon), 56.