God, Self & Other – Luke 15: Blessings and Woes (Sermon on the Plain, Part 1)

Reminiscent of the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew’s Gospel), in this episode we arrive at Jesus’s “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke.  Once again, Jesus opens with a series of “beatitudes” (blessings), that are difficult to interpret.

What are we to make of Jesus’s declaration that the poor and hungry are “blessed”? (Poverty and hunger are rarely seen as blessings by the sufferers!)  And what of the following “woes” concerning wealth, satisfaction and laughing?

It is tempting to try to construct an ethic out of these short pronouncements, resulting in a vague sense that – at least so far as one’s eternal fate is concerned – it would be better to be poor than rich (though few ever truly take that step!). And to do so would miss the point Jesus is trying to make.

In this episode our regular contributor, Rev. Ian Farrell, looks at the first half Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-26) in detail and the call of Jesus to examine ourselves in light of our call to discipleship.


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