A musician's hands on the organ keyboard in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: What Love Looks Like

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.”

Matthew 5:1–12

This Sunday’s Gospel highlights the Beatitudes, part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In this beautiful, poetic litany, Jesus turns the world on its head and proclaims that those who are mourning, those who are “poor in spirit” — perhaps those experiencing a deep loss of hope — that these very ones are also “blessed.”  

It is the merciful ones, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, who exhibit with their lives the burgeoning reality of a new world ordered by God’s grace. By refusing to retaliate when they are wronged, by extending grace to those most undeserving, by practicing an orientation of peace, those who are blessed defiantly show the forces of evil what love looks like. 

They follow in the footsteps of Jesus — whose life was also full of persecution and sorrow — but they do so with the confidence that God is with them, both now and in the kingdom to come.

—Summerlee Staten

The Bible Project puts the Gospel of Matthew, and the Beatitudes, in context.

A compilation of articles on the Beatitudes from Christianity Today.

Theodore Hill’s wonderful painting “Sermon on the Mount,” a part of the Souls Grown Deep art collective, expresses the richness of Jesus’ teaching

Anna Laetitia Barbauld on the “poor in Spirit.”

Alma Tinoco Ruiz speaks about the Beatitudes and Jesus’ emphasis on justice for the poor.

Enjoy Arvo Pärt’s wonderful “The Beatitudes.”

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Coming Soon

Sundays through January 29 | 10–11am
Discovery: God, Love, Eros, and Incarnation
The Song of Songs gives a blueprint for love and companionship. See how poets and artists and the writer’s contemporaries explored relationships in this Scripture. This week: Summerlee Staten on The Song of Songs and the Return to Eden.

Sundays, February 5–19 | 10–11am
Discovery: Spiritual Friendship
In this series, we’ll explore God’s love in community, with special emphasis on the relationship between Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross.

Sunday, February 12 | 1–3pm
Trinity Talks: Using Photography for Social Change
LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work depicts the stark reality of today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality, and environmental toxicity. By featuring voices and perspectives traditionally erased from the American narrative, MacArthur “Genius” Frazier not only captures our cultural blind spots — she teaches us how art is a powerful tool for making change. Frazier will join in conversation with the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas to discuss the transformative power of art.