The California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church

Lent 2018: Day Eight

Matthew 5:7-8

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

As we enter the eighth day of our Lenten season, we are reminded of Jesus’ sermon on the beatitudes, particularly of the word “Blessed” which has the general meaning of “Happy” or “Joyful.” It is a spiritual blessedness, a divine satisfaction that comes from a strong relationship with God. We are again reminded that blessed are the merciful and are the pure in heart.

My family and I previously served as GBGM missionaries to the Island of Fiji in the South Pacific. One of the many blessings that we received while in Fiji was working with the local orphanage home. At the home we often went out of our way to feed and accommodate the children’s needs. During those moments of struggle, frustration and disappointment, I often witnessed the miracles of God’s hand of grace and joy providing in ways I could not see.

Although there were days when we did not have enough food, we enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and witness all the unique personalities of each orphan child. Our favorite time during these meals was the songs we sang, especially the song, “Down in My Heart There is a JOY” that emphasizes that we are so happy when we have the love of Jesus in our hearts.

Despite the years of hardship, I considered my experience in Fiji the “most blessed time of my ministry.” Why? Because in those days of having less, God provided. Days of struggles and uncertainty, God’s grace was made known. Days of hunger and thirst, God was our joy.

There is an external joy and happiness in our heart when we show compassion to those who are in need. We are blessed because merciful and pure in heart is something God himself displays.

Prayer: Merciful God, we pray for the ministries that have undertaken to care for orphaned and abandoned children. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Matini Niponi Finau
Box Springs Cooperative Parish
East District