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More than just an 'ancient listicle'

Why the Beatitudes are better for you than giving up chocolate for Lent

Stop and listen. That’s what this group of Christians across different faith traditions want you to do for Lent.

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Without setting aside time to reflect on Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the desert, giving up chocolate or alcohol for Lent just becomes another health fad.

The Beatitudes speak hope to a people oppressed, who are longing for God to act.

Instead, Common Grace and Bible Society Australia are offering “the opportunity to have a season of walking with God in anticipation, reflection and humility,” says Scott Sanders, CEO of Common Grace, a Christian movement that calls itself a community who are “passionate about Jesus and justice”.

From Ash Wednesday, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) through to Easter, the two organisations have joined together to bring a series of video teachings on the Beatitudes – the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount.

The teachings are brought by Christians from a range of faith traditions, from the world’s first female Anglican Archbishop (in Perth), Kay Goldsworthy, to Aboriginal pastor and elder Uncle Sealin Garlett, to Open Doors CEO Mike Gore and refugee activist Jarrod McKenna.

Sanders says the Beatitudes – nine blessings recounted by Jesus – aren’t just “an ancient listicle” or “high ideals that we’re called to live by.”

“The Beatitudes speak hope to a people oppressed, who are longing for God to act … They carry with them the weight of the Old Testament prophetic expectation that God would do something to their situation,” says Sanders.

“To a people who are sweltering under the heat of Roman oppression, Jesus promises that a cool change has arrived. That God has heard. That God is responding.”

The series will run for 40 days, with a new video every five days accompanied by Bible readings and suggestions for spiritual practice to “help you explore each Beatitude more deeply.”

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Beatitudes - An online series for Lent

Available from Common Grace and Bible Society Australia

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